Wisdom was my mother’s innate ability. She was constantly leading by example which was the most informative, transformative and impactful attribute of my mother.
She taught us to lead by example. She taught us to “never judge a book by its cover”, “see the beauty is difference”, and things like “two wrongs don’t make a right”. Constantly encouraging us to rise above hate, fear, or anger and to always try to forgive and love.Our mother grew up in NYC during 60’s and shared her stories with us, her stories of standing for what she believed in, things like civil rights, anti-war and gender-equality, things we are still fighting for today. She has been committed to raising us “well” but she exceeded that expectation and gave us enlightenment and so much more. I’ll never forget how my mother handled one of the most controversial and difficult situations, I witnessed as a child. I was in 3rd grade and my class was preparing for a field trip but some of my classmates were not going. I didn’t know why. Why were some of my friends not allowed to go on this field trip? My mother insisted nothing was wrong and I was to go and have a good time with the classmates of mine that were able to attend, 4 out of approximately 20 students. The reason nobody was allowing their children to go on the trip was because of a notice that was sent to parents regarding a child in my class that had contracted HIV virus, through birth, and how parents had the choice to send their child to school or not.
In 1990, there was already research available to the public on how the virus was actually contracted and my mother chose to educate herself and stand up to the social norm; “I will not be a part of this kind of group thinking and ignorance!”.
Around this time, I can remember seeing a story on TV, about a boy named Ryan White, who was a teenager diagnosed with AIDS after multiple blood transfusions as a hemophiliac. Ryan was banned from attending school and ostracized from his community because of this, then Ryan publicly lost his battle to AIDS.
Doctors said Ryan posed no risk to other students, as AIDS is not an airborne disease and spreads solely through body fluids, AIDS was poorly understood by the general public at the time, but not by my “stay at home”, self-educated, rock mom! All 5 ft 3 inches of my mother being brave and standing for the little boy in MY class; I looked up and thought, “I want to be just like her”.