Tag Archives: mother

Be the Change

Okay, I did the one thing that, as a professional journalist, I swear never to do: I missed my deadline.  Yep, my day to post on this blog is the first Tuesday of each month.  I have almost never missed, but this week, I just can’t remember what day it is.  And while for the average reader it is surely not a major issue, for me it represents just how disoriented I am these days.  I’ve written about it before, but as the season is changing again, I am reminded of just how long we have all been dealing with the current pandemic.  The light through my window is different, the air feels crisper and when I run the few errands I must these days, the décor is focused on Thanksgiving and even Christmas!  How is that even happening again? 

There are other events that have served to keep me off kilter, as well.  The recent death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, has triggered so many memories of my own mother.  The two women were born just a year apart.  Like RBG, my mother wanted to become a lawyer.  But while Ruth was cheered on by her parents and later, her husband, breaking down the barriers in her path, my mom was discouraged from following that path.  My grandfather, himself a judge and state legislator, felt the law would be a difficult profession for a woman of that time.  He wanted to protect my mother from the mistreatment he knew would come her way.  “Be a teacher,” he told her, “That’s a good profession for a nice Jewish girl.”  And so it was. 

My mother was a brilliant person and a gifted teacher.  She was a devoted wife and as a mother, well, there are no words to describe the depth and breadth of her love for her children.  And yet, I have always wondered if she didn’t harbor some regret about the path not taken.  In fact, one of her favorite poems was Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken.”  She used to recite it to me, write it in birthday cards and reference it often.  When I would ask if she wished for some other life, some other story, her answer was always the same.  She was happy in her choice and dedicated to using her abilities to better her family and our community.  And she did amazing, wonderful things. She inspired not only her children at home, but countless children in her third grade classroom. 

Perhaps the question I should be considering is not whether she had regret, but rather whether she was fulfilled.  And whether fulfillment is not tied to any one thing but is a feeling that comes from satisfying one’s inner sense of purpose.  I believe my mother was wholly herself regardless of the task at hand or the job title.  She never wavered from living her values and sharing them with the world around her.  And while she didn’t change the world in big, revolutionary ways, she changed those in her sphere by being herself.

There is a famous quote, often attributed to Mahatma Ghandi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  That was my mother. 

Oh, and make sure to wash your hands, wear a mask and VOTE!!!

About Barbara Dab

Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant.  She is the Editor of The Jewish Observer of Nashville, and a former small business owner.  Barbara loves writing, telling stories of real people and real events and most of all, talking to people all over the world.  The Jewish Observer newspaper can be read online at www.jewishobservernashville.org .

Like what you’ve read? Feel free to share, but please… Give HerSavvy credit. Thanks!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Other Side of the Couch: What’s In A Name?


Late July and early August in Nashville can be overwhelmingly humid and uncomfortable.  However, yesterday and today have been little glimpses of fall…crisp air, sunshine, and temperatures in the 70s.  How delicious!

Because of this wonderful weather I have been outside more than I normally am (I am one of those Southerners who is overloved by all insects, in particular mosquitoes and chiggers…I can literally walk across a patch of grass and get attacked, while my husband seems to be immune).  In doing so, I have been enjoying the incredible display of a special kind of lily that happens at this time of year.

These lilies have many names.  I have heard them called Surprise Lilies.  Other names that I am now hearing are:  Resurrection Lilies, Pop-up Lilies, and (my favorite) Naked Ladies.  They start out in the spring with a massive amount of greenery, and no blooms.  The greenery dies away, and sometime in late July little buds begin to poke their way through the soil.  Within a day or two they stand up to two feet tall, spilling pink profusion and a sweet , intoxicating aroma into the summer air – an incredible display.  They line my driveway on either side, cascades of pink spilling up and astounding the eye.  My late godmother planted these lilies, and every time they bloom I am reminded of her legacy of beauty.

Surprise lilies – yes, because they are so sudden and so unexpected.  Resurrection lilies – yes, because they appear to have died and disappeared, and then unexpectedly are reborn.  Pop-up lilies – yes, because they literally pop out of the ground; I think that if I were there I could see it happen. Naked Ladies – yes, only a burst of petals topping a long, green stalk…no leaves, no clothes, so to speak.

Names matter.  What we call something has resonance and connects us to a larger world.  I use “surprise lilies” because that is what Marie called them, and by using this particular name I am connected to memories of her and of her special place in my life.  A master gardener, she spent the last twenty years of her life planting perennials and bulbs, creating beauty, and digging in the dirt.  She loved being outside.  I don’t love being outside, but I love the beauty that she created, and I love remembering her when I see her lilies.

Be aware of how you name things, and of how those names can create an entire internal story of remembrance.  Just like Proust’s madeleine, names evoke more than just an object.  They take you on an internal journey, filled with sight and sound and sensations…just as I see Marie, faded red hair wrapped in a kerchief, happily kneeling in the dirt and planting bulbs for a future she would never see.

Some Additional Thoughts on Names

  1. Be aware of how you name others.  Nicknames or descriptions determine perception.  If you are calling your child “the pretty one”, you can be sure she will learn that this is what you value.
  2. Notice how you name yourself. Many of us have an internal name-caller that isn’t kind.  Work with bringing compassion to your dialogue with you.
  3. Name the things you want in life…values, goals, directions. Naming is powerful.  Give yourself that power.

What is the power of naming in your life?  I would love to know.

About Susan Hammonds-White, EdD, LPC, MHSP:

Communications and relationship specialist, counselor, Imago Relationship Therapist, businesswoman, mother, proud native Nashvillian – in private practice for 30+ years. I have the privilege of helping to mend broken hearts.


Leave a comment

Filed under Self Savvy