I hear voices and they are all my mother.
"I heard that three women with dyed blond hair were in a car accident the other day... they were wearing clothes that don't require ironing". Ouch! Does that mean this will happen to me? It's a thin comparison, but Mother finds this to be very real. If it happened to them, it could happen to me.
"Sit like a lady". Okay, no problem, I can live with this one. I don't have the energy to wear matching panties or anything from the 21st century anyway. Underwear is underwear.
"Never butter a piece of bread bigger than you intend to put in your mouth". I can see the logic in this and it makes it easy to separate the old money from the new money if you're looking for old money in a restaurant. I am always looking for old money and am loathe to commit to anyone who butters an entire piece of bread (especially using the knife that is supposed to stay with the butter).
"A woman from the Mid-Atlantic was robbed at gunpoint on the sidewalk outside her gynecologist’s office... she hadn't checked her tire pressure for 17 months". Oy. I assume they check my tire pressure when they do anything to the car; if they don't- my bad. When I am at the point in my life where "never spend the principal" is a common phrase, I will hire someone to make sure my tires are okay all the time. Right now, it's anyone's guess.
As I grow older, there are more things I hear my mother say in my head, or, more frequently, on the phone. She thinks I don’t listen, but I do. Some of the things are good. Most are good. I will NEVER make the faux pas of using the wrong fork or buttering an entire piece of bread. I will never sit "like a man" with my knees akimbo and I know to take the closest item of food that is presented to me. It wouldn't occur to me to dig out the bottom of a chocolate to see what's inside and put back the rejects. First, that's just disgusting, and second, it's chocolate- there are no rejects. This is useful stuff, that when drilled repeatedly into the head of an impressionable person, sticks.
Other stuff sticks too; like flat out neurosis, which does not get as watered down through the generations as you might think. This is only one of the reasons I chose not to procreate. That and there seems nothing "natural" about having a 10 lb anything come shooting out of my coochisnorcher. EGADS- it's like elective surgery! Further solidifying my decision to stay barren were the words "cracked nipples", "hemorrhoids" and "mucus plug". None of these words came from my mother. They have been shared by friends who state "it's all worth it".
When I was 17, Mother just told me that if I had a child I should not plan on dumping it at her house for free babysitting. She also reminded me that twins run in the family. That didn't keep me abstinent, but I was on The Pill for at least a year before I had sex. Scared straight, before scared straight was cool.
Not having kids means I don't have to read What to Expect When You're Expecting. I wouldn't have to read it anyway because I have friends who have shared every last detail of their gruesome trips into motherhood, and I'm not buying the whole, “BUT IT'S SO WORTH IT” thing. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. But frankly, most of your kids would make me nuts after about 24 hours. They say it’s different when they’re yours. It probably is, because you have no one but yourself to blame when they act like Charlie Sheen (off the wagon) in public.
Regardless, I obviously have a mother. You don't get that choice, and if I'm going to be honest, the one I have is pretty good. Very good. However, she's a thinker and a worrier and that apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
So, to all the kids I never had (other people's)- for the sake of your futures, read books, take the piece of candy closest to you, dress properly when going to the doctor or getting on an airplane, eat what is put in front of you and at least try a bite. If you don’t care for it, you may state that politely, if questioned. Be curious and courteous. Respect those older than you, even if they are acting your age. Coffee won’t stunt your growth, but no one is sure about Ritalin. Have a cup of coffee, it’s been around longer. High school is a gateway drug. Join the glee club. It’s okay if you are Gay, love who you want and tolerate; if not fully embrace differences in people.
Thanks to my mom and all the other moms who helped make me who I am today.
Copyright Suki Eastman 2012