Over the past month I have been working on scanning all my old photos into a digital catalog. It has been a real journey of memories & discoveries of lost moments in time; most especially as I remember my mom. Looking at many of the old photos - some faded, some that I don’t remember, & some that seemed like they were from ancient times - I felt overwhelmed with the realization of how much wonder my mom instilled in my life.
Go Off The Beaten Path & Explore The Wild!
From as young as I can remember, my mom would take me camping in the mountains & the back country of Kananaskis. At an early age I learned that it was important to know your base camp but, it is ok to venture into the wild woods & explore beyond the marked trails.
Perhaps she hadn’t intended it to necessarily be a lesson for all of life but, the sense of wanting to see beyond the confines of boundaries & social norms still leads me to explore the unexpected in everything. It becomes an exhilaration to think I am blazing a new trail & discovering new truths that no other has encountered or conceived.
The world is a big place & while it might be easy to follow the marked trails, there’s little adventure in it. When you are willing to risk all, you find treasures of mystical measure you will never be able to quantify.
Recognize The Unlimited Abilities For Everyone
I knew going up that my mom had been a nursing assistant for spinal cord injuries but, it was an amazing find to see pictures from the Paralympics in the late 70’s. Throughout my youth, my mom would take me with her as she worked in the care homes & with those in the community who have physical challenges. She we would always treat these people the same as anyone else & while there were obvious challenges, she simply problem solved around them.
It’s ironic to think as I wonder about how she would be around me today, now that I too, am in a wheelchair. Is it possible these earlier experiences were a kind of preparation for me & the life I would face after spinal cord injury? I can at least be thankful for the “disability” trailblazers, like my mom, as I consider the technology advancements that exist today because of her advocacy.
Be A Rebel
Ok, maybe I’m reading into her character a bit but, when I saw her standing next to her cousin Donna’s 1976 Mustang, I had to chuckle as I thought to myself, “My mom was a serious ‘bad ass’ hippie!” 😂 Not really what I would have thought of when I was younger but, she was truly a strong woman of independent confidence that in those times, seemed rare.
The wonder of egalitarian rights seem so natural to me today & I can’t deny that the character of my mom growing up has inspired this equality in me. Beyond just the simplicity of masculine & feminine equality, leadership is a character presented in deeds & words. Who presents them is inconsequential as to the radical transformation they may bring.
Shoot For The Stars
I was never aloud to watch “R” rated films as a boy; mom was adamant about that. But, my mom was a serious “Trekie” & it was the one exception to the rule. The moment a new Star Trek film was in theatres, we would be the first to see it. I still remember when Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan came out in 1982 & as we left the theatre, I was balling my face off because my mentor, Spock, had died. “They can’t do that, mom!” I cried. Thank God, for the Genesis Project! 😉
Still, this was the imagination my mom would foster in me; go where no one has gone before & let the reaches of space be unlimited in your scope. I knew I could do anything I could think of in this world because my mom assured me that even the sky wasn’t the limit.
In retrospect, the same imaginary world of Star Trek would shape my view of leadership & community. We are a family & we share all things so as to find the united strengths we have in each other.
The lessons of wonder that I learned from my mom in the first 15 years of life are really never ending. She brought such a deep value to me of culture, art, neighbourhood hospitality, faith, & spirituality. The past month of going through so many photos has truly revealed to me that my fascination with awe really stems not from just my sole encounter with it, but rather the extending heartbeat of my mom, still beating & present within me as I discover more of it in life.