Lessons from Mama

When the telephone rings, the world is a good and happy place – wrongs are righted, arguments cease, and tears dry.

My childhood is laced with moments of awe as I watched my mother transform from a fire-breathing – I’m going to half-kill you for that! – What were you ever thinking? – Drop your draws, because you’re getting a beating!! – dragon into a pearl wearin’, child lovin’, Bible totin’ mama.

At the first “Bring, bring…,” hope stirred in my tummy.  By the second “Bring, bring…,” I could see the fire fading.  And by the third “Bring, bring…,” I knew salvation was nigh.

Rubbing my happy heiney, I’d run from the kitchen and leave the strange, but thoroughly lovable Donna Reed to her conversation.  I stand assured that I wouldn’t be alive today if it were not for the telephone.  I only wish we had cell phones.

I owe Graham Bell a thank you card.


Never be ashamed to show your true colors.

During the longest, hottest part of several summers, my aunt and grandparents whisked my cousin, my brother, and myself off to the Jersey Shore for a vacation.  We splashed in the water while our skin baked to a warm pink.  We raced on the boardwalk looking for samples of fudge and taffy.  At night, we threw coins in arcade machines faster than grownups could say no.  We had pure summer fun.

One sunny afternoon shines a little brighter than the rest.

The phone rang.

My mother called to tell us her exciting news.  She painted the living room a surprise color and couldn’t wait to show us.  For the rest of our ten days at the beach, I thought about color.

Sky blues, sandy beiges, milky cloud whites, chlorine greens, and swimsuit pinks blurred my vision of home.  I couldn’t wait to see what my mother had done.

What had my mother done?

Our living room shone a tangelo orange well past labor day’s no-more-bright-colors rule.  My uncle wore sunglasses in our house until his eyes adjusted (for about a year), and I saw that style and color are personal choices.

No matter good reason, show your color!


Life may hurt and tears will come, but always know “You’ll Live.”

I wasn’t a reckless child, but I sure was clumsy.  Family would tease me for having two left feet and if I’m honest, my pigeon toes did not help keep me upright.

I fell up the flight of stairs to our apartment.  I fell down the flight of stairs at school.  I tripped in parking lots, scraped my knees playing jump rope, and twisted my ankles walking down the street.  Bruises, scrapes, and cuts were the defining marks of me.  Strong bones and springy muscles spared me real harm; however, my young body hurt.

Before my tenth birthday, I cried more tears of shame than pain.

No matter the fall, no matter the blood, no matter the tears, my mother would always glance my way and say, “You’ll live!”

I didn’t get Barbie bandages or healing treats, but I learned to get back up and carry on.  Life doesn’t stand still for bumped and bruised girls; life goes on.

I’ve never forgotten the message.  Even now, when I want to succumb to a heap of tear-stained whines, my mind reminds me – I’ll live.  So I get up and go on.


And those are a few lessons I learned from my mother.

Thank you mom!

Today I’m participating in Mama Kat’s weekly writing prompt – Things My Mother Taught Me.  You can go visit Mama Kat and many others by clicking HERE.


Mama’s Losin’ It


16 thoughts on “Lessons from Mama

  1. Pingback: American Girls | the domestic fringe

  2. robinaltman

    Love the pictures of you and mom! My mom used to say, “You’ll live,” too! She also said, “It’ll be better by the time you’re married.” What was that all about? Ha!

  3. Jenners

    This was wonderful! I saw my own mom morph from Cruella de Ville to sweet lady when others arrived on the scene. And I love the photos of you and your mom. What great post … I really enjoyed it. Well done.

  4. Mom

    Yes, you lived through all the bumps and bruises and other mishaps and you came out a strong, wonderful woman!!!

  5. Jennifer G.

    Hi! CIA Spygirl here. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Really liked this post. Reading the way you described the NJ shore made me feel like I was there. And “You’ll Live” is a great response to the minor mishaps that kids sometimes face (vs “oh my god are you OK?”). Thanks to your mom for making me see that.

  6. Jill

    Great post! I love the part about the phone–so true! And I bumped, tripped and fell my way through life also while my mother often assured me, “You’ll live!” I’ve added a slightly different twist to what I tell my children: “I don’t want to hear about it unless it’s bleeding so badly a bandaid won’t fix it.” : )

  7. Thypolar

    Beautiful post, my friend! Sounds like you have a wonderful mom. “You’ll Live” is something I’ve tried enforcing in my children so I hope they are learning something as we speak!


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