renaissance chick (wrekehavoc) wrote,
renaissance chick

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70 things i've learned from my mother

my mom turns 70 this month. i'll write later about the exciting experience of schlepping two children under 6 up to NJ on a summer weekend by myself; but in the meantime, i wanted to share what i wrote for my mom's 70th birthday party. i read it aloud just before we cut the cake. no one in my family seems to want to put out a hit on me, so i figure it wasn't too incriminating ;-)

1. if you don't know the words to a song, make them up.
2. be consistent. if you've made up the words to a song, sing those made-up words so many times that your children will be very surprised to learn that they aren't the real words to the song.
3. don't sit on public toilet seats.
4. maybe you shouldn't sit on the toilet seats in your friends' houses, either.
5. people who have to show the world how much money they have usually don't really have a lot of money to begin with.
6. your real friends won't care whether you have a lot of money, anyway.
7. don't wear pleated pants. they look good on you only if you are 6 ft tall and weigh 98 pounds. maybe.
8. black is slimming.
9. children are never too old to be worried about by their mothers.
10. mothers are never too young to be worried about by their children.
11. don't sit near the restroom in a restaurant.
12. you can be on a diet for a zillion years and still gain weight.
13. you should still buy yourself clothing, even if you think you might lose weight this time. ("what, you're going to go naked?")
14. smart people visit the library 3 times per week.
15. really smart people do the NY Times Crossword puzzle. in ink.
16. know what you want in the store. go in. buy it. leave.
17. if you really love something and it fits, don't pay attention to the price tag. you'll kick yourself if you walk away from it later.
18. if you're subbing in your child's classroom and she doesn't talk, even when you know she knows the answer, it's probably because she can't decide whether to call you by your given name or call you mommy.
19. girls can do whatever boys do. sometimes, they do it better, even.
20. a good girdle is worth its weight in gold.
21. your kids will be wildly surprised to know that you were young once, and that you rode roller coasters, too.
22. no matter how wonderful your home is, make your kids live away from home when they go to college.
23. if you're going to indulge in extra calories, don't bother with alcohol -- go for the chocolate.
24. when mom says "don't eat the chocolate cake," you must listen.
25. sometimes, you have to be extra brave in front of your children, even if it takes every ounce of energy you have.
26. always enjoy bragging about your children. G-d knows you've earned it.
27. you're never too old or too female to get spam about enlarging your penis.
28. you can always claim to be a NYer, even when you've lived in NJ for about 2/3 of your life.
29. elaine's law: when your child says something wildly offensive, the loudness of his voice will be directly related to the number of people within hearing distance who would find such a statement personally offensive. ("so THIS is the slums!")
30. most family food establishments on route 95 between NJ and Florida are not fit for humans. and, they somehow always manage to seat you near the restroom.
31. that child who barely could save his own life when his bike was being stolen from him now has actually saved others' lives, proving that your kids can and do rise above all expectations.
33. seize the day. your personal warranty may be up sooner than the warranty on your prostheses.
34. when seizing the day, make sure your prostheses don't float to the top of the swimming pool.
35. if said prostheses float to the top of the pool while two of your children are present, have a good laugh about it.
36. home cooked meals? yeah, i can buy them at the deli.
37. sometimes, the child who is most afraid of leaving home is the one who ends up living the furthest away.
38. songs from World War I always make life cheerier. even if they predate you.
39. be nice to your mom. she might just get reincarnated in your grandchild.
40. you never really appreciate your parents until you become one yourself.
41. when making a 2,000 mile roadtrip, always enlist the aid of your sister by making her sit in the middle of the backseat between two of your children. she'll love you for it.
42. never be afraid to try a new career. and try another one. and another one.
43. don't hold grudges.
44. forgive those who hold grudges, even if they don't think they need to be forgiven.
45. you're never too old to make some really good friends.
46. you're never too old to enjoy some good gossip.
47. save up those embarrasing tales of your kids' childhoods. they'll make great icebreakers with the grandkids one day.
48. encourage your kids to reach for the stars. they might actually do it one day.
49. never be afraid to cut off your daughter's boyfriend's tail.
50. it's ok to watch only chick-flicks, mysteries, and Disney movies. the world is scary enough without having to pay to experience the fear.
51. be sure to drive your kids to every function they need to get to. when your kids begin the magical world of carpooling, they will only begin to appreciate what you did and then feel completely inadequate.
52. pay no attention to The Anarchist's Cookbook in your son's room. if he smokes banana peels, he deserves what he gets.
53. always hold the most important phrase in reserve for those crucial disciplinary moments: "wait til your father gets home!"
54. don't bother with corporal punishment. your kids will likely be bigger than you and laugh at you if you try to smack them.
55. got a non-reader in the house? try some Peter Benchley.
56. know where every bathroom is in a 3 mile radius of where you'll be at all times.
57. sometimes, you have to swallow hard and hope that you trained your kids well as you let them go off into uncharted territory.
58. sometimes, your kids get homework that stumps you.
59. develop your medical expertise. you'll need it to diagnose everyone.
60. remember, just because you raised them doesn't mean they'll be at all alike.
61. just because you raised them doesn't mean you'll want to admit to that at times.
62. support your local public library. and support the one in the next county, too.
63. if you get to know your librarians, they'll set aside books that you might like.
64. take your kids to hear famous speakers (like the late bella abzug.) they'll never forget it.
65. make your kids learn to swim.
66. letting your kids watch some TV isn't a crime.
67. you're a good parent. stop worrying about it.
68. forgive yourself. life is too short.
69. help your children love to learn. it is the greatest gift.
70. always be one of the two people your kids can count on to be in their corner, no matter what.

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