We are all products, in some way or another, of what our mothers taught us. My mama got it from her mother, who I’m sure we can trace all the way back to her mother and right on back to where that lady who was built from a rib.
My mama taught me the importance of logic. “If you climb up in that pecan tree you’re going to fall out and break your neck and then you can’t go to the store with me. And you can forget about a rainbow snow cone because it’ll melt all over you if your neck is in a brace.”
She taught me all about medicine. “If you cross your eyes, they’re going to freeze like that. No doctor in the world will be able to uncross them and you’ll die an old maid because no man in the world wants a cross eyed woman for a wife.”
And to remember that today wasn’t the whole enchilada. Tomorrow would arrive and we should prepare for it. “If you don’t pass your spelling test, you will grow up to be a moron and you’ll never have a good job. You will have to plant sweet potatoes and hoe green beans all your life.” The idea of picking up a hoe and working in the gardens all day sure enough put my head in the books until my eyes did almost cross.
She taught me to keep my mouth shut. “Answer me when I talk to you, girl. Don’t you dare just stand there blinking your eyes like a frog. Don’t you talk back to me or I’ll drop kick you into next week.”
And a good solid lesson in genetics. “You are acting just like your father. The Chapman side of the family wouldn’t do something that stupid.”
She taught me about my roots. “Shut that door. You’ll let he flies in and the cool air out. You were not born in a barn.”
And anticipation. “Just go to your room. You are grounded for twenty years. I may never speak to you again after that stunt. I’ll come and get you when I’ve found the temper I lost. If you starve to death before I make it to your room then remember you asked for this.”
She didn’t forget the birds and bees. “Just how do you think you got here?” That was the whole story. I didn’t know how I got here and I wasn’t about to ask. She might put me back in my room and my fat cells whined at the very thought of starvation.
The there was the wisdom of age. “When you get to be my age and when you are a mother, you will understand.”
My all time favorite was the lesson on justice. “One day you will have kids and I hope they’ll turn out just like you. Then you’ll see what it’s like.”
A few weeks ago my daughter was teaching her daughter about genetics, not talking back and being drop kicked into the middle of next week. I just smiled…history was repeating itself!