Sunday, October 21, 2012


I grew up with only a mama.  I don't know how she managed me on her own.  I was a handful +.  I've been thinking about her a lot lately and trying to remember her quirks and endearments.  Mostly I remember her love, and the way she laughed, but this morning I was smiling over her repeated admonitions - you know, the ones that are drilled in to you?! Both my mama and my grama were famous for their 'life lesson' quips:

  • "Close the door child!  I know I didn't birth you in a barn!" 
  • "Don't speak to me as if I'm your dog, or treat me like pond scum! I am not your peon."
  • "Stand up straight!  Just because you weren't born into money doesn't mean you can walk around with poor posture and remove all doubt."
  • "Think before you speak, child!  Saying 'Uh' or 'Um' just makes you sound like a troglodyte." (or ignoramus or hooligan)
  • "Behave!" (said in a very strong, hoarse whisper)
  • "Mind!" (said in a curt tone just loud enough for the immediate vicinity to hear - a tone that said, 'go ahead, make my day'... she was really good at this one.)
  • "Slang is a lazy man's vocabulary, and I did not raise you to be lazy ... nor to be a man!"
  • "Please don't embarrass me by dying in hole-y socks and dirty undies."
  • "First impressions will get you in the door, but character will close the door behind you and leave a lasting impression."
  • "Never let them see you sweat.  No, seriously.  Ladies should never be seen sweaty."
  • "Kill them with kindness."
  • "Be more than what anyone believes of you."
  • "At least one bite of everything." (and then after eating one bite...) "Clean your plate.  Never take more than you can eat - there are starving children who would be happy to eat your leftovers."  
  • "I'm like a potato with eyes going in every direction.  You'll never get away with anything." (followed with under her breath laughter)
  • "Faith and love are the only way to go through this life."
  • "So you crash.  So you get burned.  You're still alive aren't you?  Must mean the good Lord wants you to go on trying."
  • "Fudgecicles!! Do I have Nincompoop written on my forehead, Missy?" (said when she didn't believe a word you were saying)
  • "Fiddle sticks!" (said when something wasn't going right) 
I couldn't stand these repeated governances (I'm still not a fan of verbal repetition). And, like most children, I vowed never to do it to my own children "when I grow up"!  There is something about growing up, though, that makes you appreciate and understand the genius of mom-ism simplicity.
Of course, remembering all this made me evaluate my years of being a mom.  I sat for a long while wracking my brain trying to come up with just one 'mom-ism' that issued from my lips.  I  could only think of the 21 rules of our house:
The 21 Rules Of This House
by Gregg Harris

1. We obey God.
2. We love, honor and pray for one another.
3. We tell the truth.
4. We consider one another's interests ahead of our own.
5. We speak quietly and respectfully with one another.
6. We do not hurt one another with unkind words or deeds.
7. When someone needs correction, we correct him in love.
8. When someone is sorry, we forgive him.
9. When someone is sad, we comfort him.
10. When someone is happy, we rejoice with him.
11. When we have something nice to share, we share it.
12. When we have work to do, we do it without complaining.
13. We take good care of everything that God has given us.
14. We do not create unnecessary work for others.
15. When we open something, we close it.
16. When we take something out, we put it away.
17. When we turn something on, we turn it off.
18. When we make a mess, we clean it up.
19. When we do not know what to do, we ask.
20. When we go out, we act just as if we were in this house.
21. When we disobey or forget any of the 21 Rules of This House, we accept
the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

#'s 15-21 we did as a responsive reading (so-to-speak).  These (esp. #14, & #21) were repeated often.  A laminated, large print of them resided on our refrigerator until about 4 years ago.
I called the kids this morning to ask if I had ever done verbal drilling.  They could only come up with dad-isms!  (J has quite a few of his own, & some that he plagiarized from movies to make his point.)  I'll share some of those another time - - - - - maybe.
T said I was a 'one hit wonder' when it came to drilling home my point.  Just one thing was repeated consistently.  Not the same words each time.  Just the same meaning.  What was it, you ask?  Well, basically, it boils down to, "Would you like to have some discipline over yourself right now or would you like me to impose discipline upon you?"  :D  "Do you need an attitude adjustment?"   "I have a dowel with your name on it if you need some help with obedience."  or even more simply, "That's one."  M concurred with him.

Looks like I succeeded in escaping at least one motherly trait.  C made sure I knew that I still imparted much,  it was just through action and example rather than words. (that's my sweet, concerned girl) :)  Still, I sort of wish that when my kids are parents they would have mama quips to shake their heads at and smile indulgently over.  Maybe I can come up with a couple as a grandma?!

What were some of your mom's "isms"?  Did you manage to escape using them?

1 comment:

julie said...

Love this!!! I smiled/teared the whole way through this story... what a beautiful picture of your mama!