Is a person born with intellectual curiousity? Are we instinctually curious? Oh, certainly we are born this way. We explore our fingers and toes from the get go. The little scientist in us tests hypothesizes early on – holler and someone comes, throw the babu (that’s bottle in my house) on the floor and Mom picks it up, smile at the big people and they smile back . . . It works!!!
And while our brains are on the fast track, curiously exploring, our physical beings become more than simply extremities to suck on. Kicking, scooting, and !wow! knee-walking. This is cool stuff!!!
And so it goes . . . But I think a time comes when we make a choice . . . Do I know everything I want to know? For me the answer was “No Way!!” There was, and still is, so much more I want to know: how will I have time to explore it all?
Having made that choice at a young age I have had a richly textured life. But for today I will honor my mother — who gave me an illustrated edition of the Illiad and the Odessey as a first grader for me to read before I went to sleep. I laugh about it now. Our home was full of books, which was great. Reading Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar the summer I was 9 years old . . . Oi vay!!!
Back to my point, my mother was an amazing woman. She was beautiful inside and out. It is her insides I most honor today – so full of love and mischief, intelligence and grace, compassion and understanding. She was raised to be a well-mannered Southern woman, but she had a fire in her belly. Graduate school at Columbia in the 1960s brought her fire out and my composed and playful mom emerged a feminist leader. She led by example, she did not burn her bra. She was amazing about mentoring women, lifting up other women and doing her best to surround herself with other amazing women. Perhaps the most amazing thing about my mom is that she was always aware of her humanity. This is what allowed her to be so accomplished, but thoroughly humble. And, this is what allowed her to make sense of an often senseless world. And, this is what allowed her to love me with all my amazingly human flaws.
And thankfully, this understanding of our humanity allowed me to love, accept and enjoy my mother for the authentic person she was.
In Memory of
Dorothy M. Scura
Left this Earth on October 9, 2011
This above all: to thine own self be true