My mother, just like your mother, was big on giving unsolicited advice. Some of it was good. Some of it, meh, not so much. But I will say, it was always memorable.
Perhaps in the back of her mind she knew she would not live long enough to see me reach adulthood. She wanted her words to last. She wanted to make things stick.
Perhaps she was just a good judge of character.
Perhaps she wanted to save me from the all grief and inconvenience that had come by her the hard way. Isn’t that what mothers do best?
I don’t know. But I’ll tell you this: I always carry pantyhose.
***ADVICE FROM MY MOTHER ***
…on kids with weird names
Make a special effort to be nice to kids with weird names. It’s not their fault their parents are idiots.
Never trust a skinny cook. They are trying to make you fat.
Wear nice clothes to the doctor, the lawyer, the accountant, and any other office where they might deliver bad news. That way, they will treat you better and the news won’t sound so bad.
Avoid people who avoid controversy. People who are scared of controversy are scared of keeping their own opinions and defending what they know to be true. Those people will never defend you. Stay away from them.
Buy underpants in quantity. Buy shoes in quality.
Only eat oysters in months that end in R.
Everyone should take their kids on vacation. It keeps them from having more kids.
When you go to recess or lunch and you see someone alone, be proud to be the first person to sit down by their side. Invite them to play with you. Because, 1. This means you will never be alone. 2. You might be the first person to discover why they are special. This is a great honor.
When in doubt, rub with toothpaste and let it set overnight.
You have to love someone when they deserve it the least. That is when they will need it the most.
Only marry a man who loved you before you loved him, otherwise he will wake up one day and think it was all a trap. Men don’t like to be trapped. Let them hunt.
Look for a man who is nice to animals and waiters. Avoid men who talk about their mother too much.
Religions are like armpits – we all have them, but that’s no reason to flap our arms around and rub them in each other’s faces.
…on the color purple (and our neighbor’s obsession with it)
Don’t trust purple people. They are clannish and strange.
…on people who tan too much
Don’t trust people who tan too much. Anyone who looks like a rotisserie chicken on purpose isn't right in the head.
The most beautiful women in the world never wear jewelry. They don’t need it. Roses do not need perfume.
Grief goes better with chardonnay.
…on salty food
Salty food goes better with chardonnay.
Plane rides go better with chardonnay.
Keep nylons in your purse at all times. If you ever get lost in the forest, you can pull a thread, tie it to a tree, and keep walking. The thread will act as bread crumbs and you can be found or find your way back. (note: Mind you, I was about six when she said this and had no idea what nylons were, much less how to fit them in my Hello Kitty purse, or where to find a forest if I wanted one).
Expect 20% of your teachers to be bad at their job. This does not mean they are bad people, it just means they chose the wrong profession. Why should you suffer for their mistake?Learn to spot them and avoid them. For the other 80%, treat them as though they are the most important person you will ever meet. They probably are.
…on giving up
Remember, it is not over until nobody loves you, and I will always love you.
People who over-tip get treated nice. People who under-tip get spit on their steak.
...on other women
Look for women who are looking out for you as though it were their job. One day, that will be your job too.
…the list goes on.
Now I wonder; what advice did your mother give you?
I’ll bet, the best Mother’s Day gift you could give her this year is to follow it. Or better yet, write it down and send it to her.
Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful mommies, grannies, aunts, step-moms, godmothers, fairy godmothers, and any other woman who is hustling to make a positive impact on the life of a child. Sunday is for you :)
Update 5.14.12: Thank you to everyone for your kind words on these snippets from my mother. I can't tell you how pleased she would have been to see total strangers approve of her theories on life. I can see her waggling her I Told You So Finger right now. But seriously, if you have a sec, please take a moment to write down the best advice your Mother gave you. I'm hoping to revisit this topic down the line and would love your input. Thanks :)