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Look At Me When I’m Talking

From the beginning, to my baby eyes, Mom overshadowed everyone and everything. That was before TV, so I was spared the flickering, gruesome images that no child should ever see. Mom didn’t have to contend with authorities and their conflicting ideas about how to raise a child or what a girl ought to or shouldn’t be. No TV, no mixed messages. Wait! Mom loved the radio — she accompanied her day with popular music. Consequently, to this day, I wake up mornings with lines from ’40’s songs vivid my head. Songs with sweet, uncomplicated themes about love and life. That girl, Mom/Olive was a romantic, because I can still hear her singing along to “I love you a bushel and a Peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.” Songs that I have long forgotten but ones that still play cheerfully in my subconscious.

There was little or no anxiety in either of us, mom and her curly-haired satellite. We cruised through the day and at her knee I learned what I needed as it became necessary, one day at a time. This isn’t to say the mood was one-note because sadness permeated the air when her dad died, when she made pot pie from a chicken we’d raised (not one of us could eat a bite, the old bachelor next door rejoiced at his windfall), when one of the dogs disappeared, or other disasters.

Naptime was her insisting I still needed to take naps and me hating to waste an hour of playtime. Perhaps I’d noticed her belly growing, because when she decided it was time to clue me in on where babies came from, she said they came from something called “mating.” Has there ever been a more innocent or graceful telling of the facts of life?

Behavior and thinking have changed of course, as time passed. There is no going back. I am grateful for how I learned about life. My sisters and I laugh and share anecdotes about our mom, her mother and our many aunts’ homespun ways. There are 11 kids among the four of us and while we did our best, I’ve no doubt we come off quote-worthy, archaic, or downright banshee according to our kids. It’s the hardest job on earth, mothering. The advice we spout (to this day because once a mother, always a mother) attempting to stem the tide of emotions, hormones, too much coffee, and the weight of the world. In short, doing our part to help kids grow up sane, strong, and independent.

Read one of the new bobbin-olive journals about what Mother Said and chuckle, titter, guffaw, chortle, laugh, shudder, cringe and shake your head in disbelief. In this series of books about being a mom it’s all covered. The quotes will inspire your thinking — that’s the plan. Write down the good, the bad, and the ugly and pass it along for others to enjoy. We’ve all been there and none of us would trade it for a sack of gold.

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