In honor of her birthday, here’s a list of things my mother taught me:
- Double-space after a period or colon.
- It’s okay to go several days without showering… but only if you’re camping.
- Talking about sex is a good way to humiliate a sixth grader (“I know! Let’s organize a Sex Ed worship and invite all of our daughter’s classmates!”)
- Break-ups don’t end your life.
- Orange Juice is expensive (“I’m not going to buy it if you’re just going to drink it!”).
- Sometimes you have to write for the teacher (this after I came home crying about my sixth-grade Social Studies exam).
- Always go talk to the teacher if you don’t know why you got the grade you did or if you have a question about your work. And don’t expect your parents to do it for you.
- Grades don’t matter.
- It is not nice to hit your sister.
- Kids these days have it really easy.
- Fairies come back to life if you clap your hands.
- Don’t crack an egg on your forehead if it’s not hard-boiled (that I learned through Ramona).
- Cramps get better after you have your first child (I’m waiting to verify this)
- Genes! It’s in the genes!
- Those hats with the strap under the chin will make you look really cute in Easter pictures later… no matter how much they make you want to cut them up with scissors in the meantime.
There’s nothing a good ‘family meeting’ can’t solve.
- It’s important to reward yourself when you finish something big: e.g., with a good couple of days camping post-Journal.
- You don’t need a man to build a fire—all you need is dryer lint and matches.
- Sleeping in after the prom is a huge luxury (“When I was your age I was grateful to sleep in until 8 AM!”)
- The church would be better with only three people in it, nevermind the fact that it’s impossible to narrow it down to which three.
- Seriously, your grades don’t matter.
- Never introduce yourself as “My name is ___.” You are who you are. Say, “I am __.”
- It is okay to stand up to applaud at a Broadway performance. Don’t clap in church. And by all means, only give a standing ovation if the community theatre actually deserves it.
- Elaine Paige can sing away most of life’s problems. As can Billy Joel. And Jim Croce.
- The Palestinians deserve a listen.
- You don’t have to wear pants and cut your hair short to be a woman in ministry.
- If you think you’re sick, go to school and see if you feel that way in three hours.
- No matter how hard you work on something, there will still be mistakes. And that’s okay.
- If you’re literate and you type a bulletin, it should not have typos.
- “Me and her was runnin’ good” is not proper English. Don’t learn your English from ESPN.
And the number one thing my mother taught me:
You are a beloved child of God, known and loved by your human family and by your heavenly one.