A girl finds out something new about her mother’s second husband. A teenager succumbs to the lure of adventure on a Haitian night. A non-observant grandmother attempts to explain a religious holiday to a child. A grown man fails to replicate his mother’s recipe. A self-righteous teacher’s poisonous attitude pervades a classroom. Strengths emerge after a child’s dire diagnosis, a difficult divorce, the death of a parent.
This issue of The Mom Egg is our first theme issue, on the subject of “Lessons”. It was inspired, in part, by a spoken word/performance piece by Cheryl Boyce-Taylor and RH Douglas, “Home Training.“* The piece, which appears in this issue of The Mom Egg, ‘speaks’ in the voices of elders from the two poets’ Caribbean birthplaces; it contains advice– as to what a girl should aim for and allow; how she should conduct herself and think about her body, employment, art and purpose—counsel that is not less chilling for being well-meant. Were these teachers communicating pragmatic means of succeeding in society, based on their own wisdom and experience, or collaborating in soul-killing repression?
Throughout our lives, we are on the giving and receiving end of lessons; some simple, others complex; some explicit, many, more veiled. We’re taught first by mother, and father, later by teachers, peers, loves, institutions. We teach our children, and they teach us, (as Crosby Stills & Nash noted). These lessons can be inspiring and empowering or limiting and inhibiting. Others’ lessons to us and ours to others require our examination and, to whatever extent possible, conscious choice. Perhaps the most profound lessons are those that we arrive at ourselves, through our own direct experience of the world.
In this Mom Egg, all the lessons above, and more; lessons learned and taught–funny, frightening, tragic; lessons to live by, and those better ignored. Maybe one or two for you.
Editor, The Mom Egg