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words of wisdom from my mom


you-don't-have-to-like-it2#
I don’t like January. But in these cold, dark, back-to-business days after the holidays, I find myself falling back on something my mother taught me: I don’t have to like it. Which, oddly enough, helps, somehow.


My family likes to tease my mom about things she used to say when my brother and sister and I were growing up. Even my son, Reeve, (who obviously wasn’t there back in the day) gets it: “You know what Nonna would say,” he said to me once as I was complaining about something trivial. “Get over it.”


Born in the midst of the Great Depression—to eastern-European immigrants who were made of tough stuff—my mom’s now famous take on many things when we were kids was a kinder/gentler variation on “Oh, don’t be such a baby.” This philosophy showed up in all aspects of family life: at the dinner table (“If you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it—but that’s what we’re having.”); on camping trips (“A little ______ [take your pick: humidity/heat/mosquito bite/dirt-bug-dog drool in your food/rain/cramped family "togetherness" in the camper in the rain] never hurt anyone.”); regarding chores and schoolwork (“It won’t take long to clean your room/do your homework. Just do it and get it over with.”) . . .


Don’t waste time complaining; just get going.


We may have complained (under our breaths, of course) back then, but over the years I’ve seen how helpful—and practical—it was, this confidence Mama had (still has) in our capability. We grew up knowing we could deal with these things, if for no other reason than the alternative just wasn’t an option.


So I hate January? Sure, fine. That’s OK. I don’t have to like it. February’s on the way, and, meanwhile, I’ll deal.




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Tags: advice, childhood, growing up, mom, mother's advice, stoicism



 

Comments (4)

Your mother is a woman after my own heart. I say all of those things to my kids all the time. :) .-= Jake Aryeh Marcus´s last blog ..Growing Up with Domestic Violence- Patrick Stewart and Me =-.
My mother never said that nor have I, but if I have the chance to be a mother again (doubtful at my age) I will certainly share those words with my off-spring!
Jane! What a nice surprise to see your name here! Sending you warm wishes from chilly Santa Fe. . . (And, yes, I see the wisdom in Mom's approach now, but Cathy and I sure did our share of complaining over the years. . .)
My stepfather always used to say, "Well, no, that's not fair, but then life's not fair." He was right, and it's funny how that little reminder actually does help.
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