“An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.” – Rudyard Kipling
Last week was Valerie Rains’ recital. On Wednesday, she and her mother were in a fast and furious mode to get home from work and school, then back to Dallas for dress rehearsal that evening.
The harnessing and corralling of my granddaughter’s thick mane started as soon as they came through the door. The arduous process begins by getting a brush through the mass of waist-length waves. Next, the hair is pinched and pulled tightly into a ponytail. Then it’s rolled and pinned and shellacked with enough product to hold a proper ballet bun for three hours. Protests were minor during the hair styling. Valerie Rains does this on her own every week.
But tensions mounted (as time and tempers got short) when makeup went on.
“No, no. I can’t stand the way it feels,” Valerie Rains whined about the mascara. “It’s going to get in my eyes. ”
And then I heard my mother’s voice. Well, not her voice, but her words coming through my daughter’s exasperation.
“You can do this,” she said. “It’s just one day!”.
Well, of course it wasn’t one day, especially for Valerie Rains. It was this rehearsal, then performances one and two. But Valerie Rains’ mother was in the moment. And the moment was about making it to rehearsal.
The first time my mother used that expression with me, I was in the second grade. And I loved walking to school.
We lived three blocks from the campus, but they were long and there was a busy street to cross. To appease me, several days a week my mom would load my little brothers in the wagon and walk me to school.
I loved the smell of grass and flowers in the morning and the laughter of other kids. I loved talking with my mom, while my brothers jumped in and out of the wagon.
Before long, I insisted I was ready to walk alone. For a day or two I proved it by naming things that were coming up on each street. At the busy intersection, I crossed alone while she watched. Then we waved to each other as she and my brothers headed home.
One day, when we reached the crosswalk, she told me I could walk home by myself.
I’m sure I skipped the rest of the way to school. That afternoon I walked proudly out of the building and waved good-bye to my friends. I didn’t even make it to the crosswalk before tears started forming.
I bent down and pretended to tie my shoe, but the sobs came anyway.
“Are you okay?”, a teacher asked as she knelt next to me.
I cried some more and started telling her how I was lost and didn’t know how to get home. But when I looked up, I could see my mom standing behind her. (She had come to meet me, just in case.)
I jumped into her arms like I was three.
“I couldn’t do it,” I cried. “What if I can never do this by myself?”
She lifted my face toward hers and said, “It’s just one day, sweetie.”
“One day,” she repeated, “and now it’s over.”
I still use those words with myself at the end of a difficult day. Valerie Rains had to be told to take off her makeup the night of rehearsal.
And on days two and three there was no fear of mascara.
What is the best advice your mother ever gave you? Do you use it still? We’d love to hear it in the Comments!