My mother Betty, around age 3
You’ve seen the book, S**t my Dad Says, I think there’s a television show too. And we all know “Momisms,” those universal mom sayings we all heard growing up.
Things like, “You should always wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident.”
And, “If you keep crossing your eyes they’re going to stay like that.”
Or, “What if everyone jumped off a cliff—would you do it too?”
Today on Mother's Day, I'm reminiscing a bit about some of the things my mom used to say.
As a kid I’d get the usual momisms too, but usually with a little twist.
For instance, instead of saying I should wear clean underwear in case I got in an accident, my mother would say:
“You should always wear nice underwear in case you get hit by a car.”
Ever the style maven, I guess she wanted to make sure if I got hit by a car and went flying over someone’s dashboard with my skirt over my head, the people in the car would later comment on how nice my underwear looked. “Such a shame, poor thing … but weren’t her underpants pretty?”
Sometimes her motherly advice was uniquely her own … and a bit, well … questionable …
When I hit adolescence and decided I needed to start shaving my legs, her response was:
“If you start shaving your legs too young, the hair will grow back thick and black.”
Given the fact I was blonde with fair skin; odds were pretty much stacked against me ever having thick black hair on my legs, even if I started shaving as a toddler!
My aunt, my mom and me circa '80s
She always had an opinion on what I wore. If she approved of the outfit she’d say:
“You look like Mrs.Got Rocks.” This meant a woman with money – the rocks being diamonds.
And apparently she hoped I’d actually become Mrs.Got Rocks, because she’d tell me:
“It’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor man.”
My mother was married three times. Relationship advice was probably not her strong point.
She was short—5’2” tall, but just in case you might underestimate her, she’d warn, “I’m little but I’m dynamite!”
And she was!
My mom and my Aunt Peggy
My mother died about 15 years ago, at age 75 from lung cancer. Her momisms may not have always been pearls of wisdom, but she taught me things I’ll always treasure—and her lessons have led me to what I’m doing now.
From her I learned that jewels can be found by prowling through antique and vintage shops.
That beauty is all around us—in a sunset, a swatch of velvet, a flower from the garden, a rain-washed morning.
She taught me we all need to nurture our creative souls.
That we should never stop learning.
And never stop trying.
Her true lessons will always be with me.