In a desperate moment of defeat, I called my mother last week and reported to her that I desperately needed a speech for a teenager who thinks that his mom is lame. I’d overused If You Keep Making That Face It’s Going to Stay That Way, and heaven knows that, Just You Wait Until You Have Kids of Your Own has long since outlived it ’s use.
"Tell him that you’re aging by the minute and that one day you’ll be gone and he’ll wish like crazy he’d spent more time with you."
"Ah Mom," I replied with sadness, "are you speaking of yourself? Have I been neglecting you lately? "
"Not me," she replied with disgust, "We’re talking about your lecture to your kid. Now I have to go, American Idol is coming on."
Just what I needed, advice from a woman who chooses American Idol over her own daughter.
Back in her day, Mom was the champion when it came to speeches. She had a whole repertoire of them. She had her, Eat that and you’ll spoil dinner, and We’re Visiting Nice People so You Had Best Behave Accordingly. Then there was, You keep making that face and it’ll stay that way and my own, personal favorite, Did you just back sass me? Cuz you’d better not have just back sassed me! And when she felt like casting a curse on her kids, she had a version of Mark my words, that had recipients shaking in their boots.
I like to incorporate her lectures in my mothering from time to time. In fact, just last evening, I did a stellar rendition of I’m Not Your Stinking Maid.
In fact while it’s still fresh in my mind, I’d better write that one down.
Oftentimes lectures shoot out of my mouth that I have completely forgotten about until I hear my mother’s voice in my head. It’s as if my subconscious has committed them to memory and filed them away until the precise moment arrives and they can be put to their best use.
There are the simple matters like, Wear a Sweater or You’ll Catch Your Death of Cold and If You Don’t Eat Your Greenbeans, You’ll Get the Ricketts. I’m gosh darned proud of how I’ve perfected, And I mean it!" Mom would be so proud.
Blame it on a woman who doesn’t have the sense God gave a goat.
But, in a strange turn of events, one of the children appeared at my side this morning. If there’s one thing that he should have learned in all of his twelve years, it’s that I’m not all about mornings. Yet, he picked a morning at that to deliver his little lecture entitled, "You’re going to make me late for school, you know that don’t you?" The speech sounded familiar to me and I was quite certain I’d heard it before.
"But I still have 15 minutes left."
"Not according to my clock."
Without thinking, I delivered it word for word.
It was a fine and stellar performance of one of mother’s best speeches, yet the only response I received was an "Okie dokie," from my youngest as he made airplane noises with a toy dinosaur.
I was about to do Mom’s best follow-up lecture entitled, Did You Hear What I Said? Cuz You Had Better Had Heard What I’ve Said. When suddenly and without warning my youngest darling held his dinosaur up high above his head and he sent it plummeting straight down and into the thigh of his older brother.
And this from the woman who hung up on me because American Idol is coming on.
Naturally, the older brother screamed out a couple of names that a mother such as myself frowns upon, including "stupid" and "freak of nature." Before I knew it, the whole back seat was under siege. Shoes went flying, blows were delivered, and one child shoved his way across the seat in an all out attempt to gouge his brother’s eye out.
Nobody Listens to Me Anymore would have been the perfect lecture to deliver right then, but I didn ’t see the point.
That’s not even in my speech repertoire
You’d best get to bed
don’t touch anything."
And the ever versatile last line, "And I mean it!"