My sister Jeanne had a great idea – for all five of us to share “words of wisdom” that our mother imparted to us throughout the years. I responded to her text immediately. A perfect blog post for Mother’s Day, right?
The only caveat was that she thought we should share in public only those things that were positive – that made our lives better, things we really appreciated about her. Sounded reasonable. But…
As the thoughts started rolling in from my siblings I realized that, on the surface, much of Mom’s advice didn’t cast her in a totally positive light. There were threats, white lies, and outright prejudices. But – the advice stuck. And we are all wonderful people (well…I think so anyway), living independent and successful lives. So, whatever she did and whatever she said couldn’t have been all that bad.
“Do whatever you want, but if you get in trouble, I’d better never find out.”
The above, or a variation of the same seems to be the overwhelming favorite – shared by almost every one of us. I used a variation of it with our children, “Don’t do anything that will get you arrested or change your life permanently (for the worse.) If you do, I’d better not find out.” Our kids are 30 and 35 – so far, so good!
“Food for the soul”
Mom used this phrase when justifying an unnecessary purchase. Like my $450 Mary Englebreit dollhouse…or GI Joes and Barbies when we were kids and money was very tight. You were right, Mom. What good is a life without joy? Being alive isn’t good enough. Living life is better!!
“A job is just what you have to do so you can do what you want to do.” and “Who ever told you you should be happy?”
Those two statements have gotten me through a few tough times…
“If you act like garbage, you will end up in the garbage.”
You might think that was her commentary on Karma. No. She wasn’t giving sage advice about “reaping what you sow.” She really meant it. Literally. She picked Dean and Betsy up and actually put them in the trash cans in our carport! Not just a wise woman, but a strong one as well!!
Mom was funny without even trying. One day we were playing with the croquet mallets, using them like crutches. Mom’s comment: “If you break your leg, don’t come running to me!”
“Mom taught us…”
- How to bake
- How to make: meatballs, grilled cheese sandwiches, chopped liver, Bundt cake
- How to sew
- The importance of having a hobby
- The love of food: Katz’s Deli, Lender’s, lobster rolls, Viennese “anything”
- How to raise a family (part example, part cautionary tale)
- The fine art of sarcasm (see item directly above!)
- The love of gardening
- To enjoy just driving around and seeing new things
- How to paint and other important home maintenance tasks. NOTE: That does not include cleaning a home, however!
- A love of music, especially jazz
- Above all – laugh