‘My priceless Mom. And her priceless Momisms’
When I was a kid, I had a hard time picturing my mom in any role other than ‘Mom’. She would tell us about The Time When I Was In School. And we knew that, sometime in the foggy past, she Had Been A Nurse.
That’s why I was (and still am) absolutely fascinated by the picture at the top of this post.
There’s Mom, whispering to Dad at some gathering of gorgeous young people who were, no doubt, also Moms and Dads. (I’m pretty sure that the leggy lady on the left ‘belonged’ to our pal Teresa.) But they look, well, rather off-duty here.
Who were Mom and Dad looking at? What was Mom saying? (Whatever it was, it must have been funny; he has a rather amused look on his face, doesn’t he?)
Anyway, speaking of funny, my Mom was — and is — rather droll, to say the least. And, in honor of Mother’s Day (coming up this weekend, people; get your phones warmed up), I thought I’d try to recount some of her funnier sayings. Her ‘Momisms’, if you will.
Of course, she would trot out phrases from the comes-with-the-Mom-Territory arsenal when called for. Lines like the argument-killer ‘because I said so, that’s why’ and the closely-related ‘because I’m your mother, and that’s that‘. Even that chestnut ‘when you grow up, I hope you have a daughter/son just as naughty as you, and then you’ll be sorry’ was occasionally deployed.
When the Little Kids were actually little she’d even sometimes resort in desperation to the classic ‘stop that crying, or I’ll give you something to cry about’. But not very often. I’m sure she realized that one is pretty darned ridiculous. (As well as ineffective.)
I should pause here to point out that there were five of us — the two Big Kids, the two Little Kids, and Roger (the Kid in the Middle) — a number that in those days wasn’t really all that unusual. Nor was the fact that we were a pretty rambunctious bunch. My Mom used to say (here comes a Momism) that ‘some people want the nations of the world to get along like brothers and sisters; hah! If they did, they’d be fighting all the time.’
Don’t get me wrong; we weren’t particularly naughty kids. Sure, sometimes things could spiral somewhat out of control. Like if one of us had a new Prized Possession and the rest wanted to mess with it. Or if somebody ate somebody else’s chocolate Easter Bunny ears. Or if my brothers started imitating The Three Stooges. (My Mom hated The Three Stooges.)
All Mom had to do was threaten to ‘get the hairbrush’ (not, in this instance, to brush our hair) or — if, say, we Said A Bad Word or ‘Talked Back’ — ‘wash your mouth out with soap‘. The hairbrush and soap threats were rather like the threat of nuclear weapons. I don’t recall her ever actually using them; just the fact that they existed and could be deployed served as a pretty effective deterrent.
Let me round out this collection with one of her, um, more creative Momisms. (It’s such a dandy that it appears in a previous Mom Story, ‘My Mom, the “Party Girl”‘.)
Back in the Old Days there were no seat belts. No baby seats, either. Parents just sort of squooshed their numerous progeny into the car and closed the door. Babies would get wedged into a corner or perched on the lap of a bigger kid.
This close proximity caused bickering, of course. ‘Mom! Her leg is touching my leg!’ ‘Mom! He’s looking out my window!‘ and my personal favorite (and no, I am not making this up) ‘Mom! He’s breathing my air!‘ made driving anywhere a noisy proposition. All this ‘Mom!’-ing (pronounced more like ‘Maaaaa-aaaahhhmmmm!) made our Mom say on more than one occasion that she wanted to change her name (that is, from ‘Mom’).
Anyway, one time when my Middle Brother had scored the coveted Front Seat, he got so excited — and so twitchy and annoying — that Mom actually told him: ‘Roger, get in the back seat if you want to wiggle your behind’.
Most excellent Momism, Mom. I wish you the most excellent Mother’s Day. Since I’m actually going to be seeing you in person this year, I can hardly wait to ask you ‘Why isn’t there a Children’s Day?’ To which you will surely reply, just like when we were small, ‘Every day is Children’s Day.’
New York City. May 2016