Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Power of Words

I love quotes and quips - little pieces of advice that allow you to think reflectively about the reason we are all here and do what we do. Proverbs is one of my favorite sources but then there's Maya Angelou and an assortment of female mentors too. I was really intrigued when the crazy mamas started collaborating on the best advice given to you, and I'm joining in the fun to share the wealth.

From my maternal grandmother who though it practical to talk about how the men we dated looked: "You remember you have to look at him every morning. and every night." I was particularly progressive about marrying a man who was able to talk to me and inspire me, beyond his individual looks. I told my grandmother that we had a history of fine men who were not fine in their character already and I wouldn't be joining the obsession with pretty boy men. So then she went practical, "if not for you, please think about my grandbabies." I was irritated with this advice and told her with a straight face that every baby is cute. Then in her early 70's she replied, "Don't forget - monkey's are cute too, and I don't want one of them for a grandbaby either." Point taken. Let's not act as if looks don't matter and that you can ignore the obvious - my grandmother has always been very practical. I was engaged to a fella for about 2 weeks in my youth, and she indicated, "If you just wanted an Imond (not a typo, a reference for something short of a diamond) I can buy you that." I gave up. I married a cutie who had everything else too.

From my paternal grandmother, "Dead folks can't smell flowers." A very pointed lesson from a woman I wasn't very close to. If you want to do something for someone - do it while they are alive. Do things that matter to people while they can enjoy them. I have an uncle that recently died and although it broke my heart - I have a lifetime of memories, letters and experiences that tell me - all is well. As I saw so many people say on 911 - "I have no regrets." I take that as a pointed lesson in marriage - if he was gone tomorrow would he know, really really know, how much he means to us.

From my mother, "Life isn't Fair, the sooner you learn it the better off you'll be." I thought many things were not fair growing up. My mother helped me to learn - the world owes you nothing. Some people find it harsh. I am thankful for those early lessons which taught me about the pitfalls of believing that life would be fair. She often told me, these grades are for you. I heard countless times, "I've already passed 3rd grade - what you get is all on you." Got it mom. I got it. Yet the best advice came when I didn't know what to do about becoming a stay at home mama. I was worried about my MBA and resources when she said, "You can't read to them forever. You won't be able to rock them to sleep at nap time in a few years. Enjoy each day and don't think if you aren't there you can recapture it later." An accomplished career woman, I held her feedback to my heart on the many days when we didn't have nickels to rub together.

Words linger for a good long time. I was also the 1988 Debutante Queen at a major African-American society event in my youth, and I was there without my father. That isn't really a good experience when you father is really known locally - it brought unwanted attention to being in a single parent household. Funny thing is, winning was only a part of the experience. My date looked at me in the haze of celebration and said "You were a queen long before the announcement." He came from what I thought was the perfect family but he cautioned me that everything that glitters is not gold. Puts into perspective needing anyone to validate your life, even at 16.

As parents my goodness, there are so many lessons to teach. I'll share my thoughts in another post about what I'll impart to my kidlets.

1 comment:

bliss said...

mothers and grandmas sure are smart aren't they?

thank God for 'em cuz where would we be without their wisdom? :-)