For years my wedding ring has done its job. It has led me not into temptation. It has reminded my husband numerous times at parties that it's time to go home. It has been a source of relief to a dinner companion. It has been a status symbol in the maternity ward.
Do you know what you call those who use towels and never wash them, eat meals and never do the dishes, sit in rooms they never clean, and are entertained till they drop? If you have just answered, 'A house guest,' you're wrong because I have just described my kids.
Babies should enjoy the freedom to vocalize whether it be in church, a public meeting place, during a movie, or after hours when the lights are out. They have not yet learned that joy and laughter have to last a lifetime and must be conserved.
My mother won't admit it, but I've always been a disappointment to her. Deep down inside, she'll never forgive herself for giving birth to a daughter who refuses to launder aluminium foil and use it over again.
I have never understood, for example, how come a child can climb up on the roof, scale the TV antenna, and rescue the cat ... yet cannot walk down the hallway without grabbing both walls with his grubby hands for balance.
The art of never making a mistake is crucial to motherhood. To be effective and to gain the respect she needs to function, a mother must have her children believe she has never engaged in sex, never made a bad decision, never caused her own mother a moment's anxiety, and was never a child.
Sex in the nineties is boring. The problem is that it has gone from an active act to a spectator sport. We watch people make love on television and in films. We call 900 numbers to hear what someone would do to us if they weren't sitting in a boiler room of other dirty talkers reading from a prepared script.
The family. We are a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms. . . and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.
If I had my life to live over, instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished ever moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
I love my mother for all the times she said absolutely nothing.... Thinking back on it all, it must have been the most difficult part of mothering she ever had to do: knowing the outcome, yet feeling she had no right to keep me from charting my own path. I thank her for all her virtues, but mostly for never once having said, "I told you so.
Myths that need clarification: "No matter how many times you see the Grand canyon, you are still emotionally moved to tears." False. It depends on how many children the out-of-towners brought with them who kicked the back of your seat from Phoenix to Flagstaff and got their gum caught in your hair.
Myths that need clarification: "Everyone in California lives on a white, sandy beach." False. The only people who live on California beaches are vacationers from Arizona, Utah, and Nevada who own condos.
It's the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have...One pair that see through closed doors. Another in the back of her head...and, of course, the ones in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and reflect 'I understand and I love you' without so much as uttering a word.
I'm real ambivalent about [working mothers]. Those of use who have been in the women's movement for a long time know that we've talked a good game of "go out and fulfill your dreams" and "be everything you were meant to be." But by the same token, we want daughters-in-law who are going to stay home and raise our grandchildren.
It is ludicrous to read the microwave direction on the boxes of food you buy, as each one will have a disclaimer: THIS WILL VARY WITH YOUR MICROWAVE. Loosely translated, this means, You're on your own, Bernice.
When mothers talk about the depression of the empty nest, they're not mourning the passing of all those wet towels on the floor, or the music that numbs your teeth, or even the bottle of capless shampoo dribbling down the shower drain. They're upset because they've gone from supervisor of a child's life to a spectator. It's like being the vice president of the United States.
It is upsetting to many parents that their teen-agers introduce them to their friends as encyclopedia salesmen who are just passing through ... if they introduce them at all. I have some acquaintances who hover in dark parking lots, enter church separately and crouch in furnace rooms so their teen-agers will not be accused of having parents.
I don't know when pepper mills in a restaurant got to be right behind frankincense and myrrh in prominence. It used to be in a little jar that sat next to the salt on the table and everyone passed it around, sneezed, and it was no big deal.
You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.
Friends are "annuals" that need seasonal nurturing to bear blossoms. Family is a "perennial" that comes up year after year, enduring the droughts of absence and neglect. There's a place in the garden for both of them.
In Russia, as I sat there day after day wearing headphones, listening to the interpreter struggle to make our words relevant, I wondered if we could establish meaningful rapport with a nation that had never seen raisins dance in dark glasses on TV...never had a garage sale.
Mothers are not the nameless, faceless stereotypes who appear once a year on a greeting card with their virtues set to prose, but women who have been dealt a hand for life and play each card one at a time the best way they know how. No mother is all good or all bad, all laughing or all serious, all loving or all angry. Ambivalence rushes through their veins.
Phrases and their actual meanings: My teacher has never liked me. Expect a phone call before lunch from the teacher informing you that your child has been launching hot dogs by compressing them inside a small Thermos and then removing the lid quickly.
Occasionally, once a speaker is on his feet, it is difficult to get him to sit down. ... If and when he returns to earth, he notices half of the room is paging the other half and a few are playing with the melted candles.
The more I think about it, the more there is to be said for the sloth. He sleeps fifteen to eighteen hours a day and is known to have taken forty-eight days to travel four miles. He hangs in the trees after he's dead. But he lives longer than the cheetah.
Kids have little computer bodies with disks that store information. They remember who had to do the dishes the last time you had spaghetti, who lost the knob off the TV set six years ago, who got punished for teasing the dog when he wasn't teasing the dog and who had to wear girls boots the last time it snowed.
Kids are without a doubt the most suspicious diners in the world. They will eat mud (raw or baked) rocks, paste, crayons, ball-point pens, moving goldfish, cigarette butts, and cat food. Try to coax a little beef stew into their mouths and they look at you like a puppy when you stand over him with the Sunday paper rolled up.
Making coffee has become the great compromise of the decade. It's the only thing "real" men do that doesn't seem to threaten their masculinity. To women, it's on the same domestic entry level as putting the spring back into the toilet-tissue holder or taking a chicken out of the freezer to thaw.
When they told me I needed a mastectomy, I thought of the thousands of luncheons and dinners I had attended where they slapped a name tag on my left bosom. I always smiled and said, 'Now, what shall we name the other one?' That would no longer be a problem.
The age of your children is a key factor in how quickly you are served in a restaurant. We once had a waiter in Canada who said, "Could I get you your check?" and we answered, "How about the menu first?"
People are always asking couples whose marriage has endured at least a quarter of a century for their secret for success. Actually, it is no secret at all. I am a forgiving woman. Long ago, I forgave my husband for not being Paul Newman.
A friend doesn't go on a diet because you are fat. A friend never defends a husband who gets his wife an electric skillet for her birthday. A friend will tell you she saw your old boyfriend -- and he's a priest.
I was a closet pacifier advocate. So were most of my friends. Unknown to our mothers, we owned thirty or forty of those little suckers that were placed strategically around the house so a cry could be silenced in less than thirty seconds. Even though bottles were boiled, rooms disinfected, and germs fought one on one, no one seemed to care where the pacifier had been.
With boys you always know where you stand. Right in the path of a hurricane. It's all there. The fruit flies hovering over their waste can, the hamster trying to escape to cleaner air, the bedrooms decorated in Early Bus Station Restroom.
Not everyone is comfortable with the kissing ritual. My husband is one of them. Her refuses to press lips with anyone except his wife, mother, and dog. If someone wanted to give him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, he would refuse until he had been formally introduced.
With girls, everything looks great on the surface. But beware of drawers that won't open. They contain a three-month supply of dirty underwear, unwashed hose, and rubber bands with blobs of hair in them.
When it comes to cooking, five years ago I felt guilty "just adding water." Now I want to bang the tube against the countertop and have a five-course meal pop out. If it comes with plastic silverware and a plate that self-destructs, all the better.
Given another shot at life, I would seize every minute...look at it and really see it... live it...and never give it back. Stop sweating the small stuff. Don't worry about who doesn't like you, who has more, or who's doing what. Instead, let's cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us.
Everyone is guilty at one time or another of throwing out questions that beg to be ignored, but mothers seem to have a market on the supply. "Do you want a spanking or do you want to go to bed?" Don't you want to save some of the pizza for your brother?" Wasn't there any change?
I read one psychologist's theory that said, "Never strike a child in your anger." When could I strike him? When he is kissing me on my birthday? When he's recuperating from measles? Do I slap the Bible out of his hand on Sunday?
If I had my life to live over again, I would have waxed less and listened more. ... I would have cried and laughed less while watching television ... and more while watching real life. ... But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute of it ... look at it and really see it ... try it on ... live it ... exhaust it ... and never give the minute back until there was nothing left of it.
There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, 'Yes, I've got dreams, of course I've got dreams.' Then they put the box away and bring it out once in awhile to look in it, and yep, they're still there. These are great dreams, but they never even get out of the box. It takes an uncommon amount of guts to put your dreams on the line, to hold them up and say, 'How good or how bad am I?' That's where courage comes in.
He opened the jar of pickles when no one else could. He was the only one in the house who wasn't afraid to go into the basement by himself. He cut himself shaving, but no one kissed it or got excited about it. It was understood when it rained, he got the car and brought it around to the door. When anyone was sick, he went out to get the prescription filled. He took lots of pictures... but he was never in them.
...I remember thinking how often we look, but never see...we listen, but never hear...we exist, but never feel. We take our relationships for granted. A house is only a place. It has no life of its own. It needs human voices, activity and laughter to come alive.
There is nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child. ... Time, self-pity, apathy, bitterness, and exhaustion can take the Christmas out of the child, but you cannot take the child out of Christmas.
We've got a generation now who were born with semiequality. They don't know how it was before, so they think, this isn't too bad. We're working. We have our attache' cases and our three piece suits. I get very disgusted with the younger generation of women. We had a torch to pass, and they are just sitting there. They don't realize it can be taken away. Things are going to have to get worse before they join in fighting the battle.
Some say the antique syndrome surfaced to offset the newness of the land, the homes, and the settlers. Some say the interest was initiated by a desire to return to the roots of yesterday. I contend the entire movement to acquire antiques was born out of sheer respect of things that lasted longer than fifteen minutes.
Let us hope manufacturers can come up with a diaper that is environmentally sound. To go back to cloth would send us back to the day when breathing and raising a baby at the same time were incompatible.
Someday, when my children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a mother, I'll tell them: I loved you enough to bug you about where you were going, with whom and what time you would get home. ... I loved you enough to be silent and let you discover your friend was a creep. I loved you enough to make you return a Milky Way with a bite out of it to a drugstore and confess, 'I stole this.' ... But most of all I loved you enough to say no when you hated me for it. That was the hardest part of all.
I was leafing through a magazine where there was a before-and-after picture of a woman who went from a size 5 to a size 3 by liposuction. Was she serious? I've cooked bigger turkeys than her "before" picture.
I've never vied for power in the family before. Pointing a box at the garage door and saying "Open!" was never a big deal, but holding that television tuner and realizing I alone control what is flashed on the screen brings out the Iacocca in me.
I will never understand children. I never pretended to. I meet mothers all the time who make resolutions to themselves. 'I'm going to ... go out of my way to show them I am interested in them and what they do. I am going to understand my children.' These women end up making rag rugs, using blunt scissors.
Grandmas can shed the yoke of responsibility, relax and enjoy their grandchildren in a way that was not possible when they were raising their own children. And they can glow in the realisation that here is their seed of life that will harvest generations to come.
Many people are intimidated by doctors. ... People also feel stupid when they don't understand what a doctor's talking about the first time around, so they don't ask again. And let's be honest here, people. English is not a doctor's first language.
You always hear about fashion's success stories. How a starlet lost an earring one night and by the next morning, the entire country was wearing one earring. Or how sweaters made a comeback in a drugstore, or a First Lady influenced how we dressed during her reign. But what about the losers? The fashions that came and went out the same day? The hopes and dreams of designers that were shattered by the sound of fifty million women ... laughing themselves to death.
Adults are always telling young people, 'These are the best years of your life.' Are they? I don't know. Sometimes when adults say this to children I look into their faces. They look like someone on the top seat of the Ferris wheel who has had too much cotton candy and barbecue. They'd like to get off and be sick but everyone keeps telling them what a good time they're having.
Good kids are like sunsets. We take them for granted. Every evening they disappear. Most parents never imagine how hard they try to please us, and how miserable they feel when they think they have failed.
Motherhood is the second oldest profession in the world. It never questions age, height, religious preference, health, political affiliation, citizenship, morality, ethnic background, marital status, economic level, convenience, or previous experience.
I have always felt that too much time was given before the birth, which is spent learning things like how to breathe in and out with your husband (I had my baby when they gave you a shot in the hip and you didn't wake up until the kid was ready to start school), and not enough time given to how to mother after the baby is born.
My son would walk to the refrigerator-freezer and fling both doors open and stand there until the hairs in his nose iced up. After surveying $200 worth of food in varying shapes and forms, he would declare loudly, 'There's nothing to eat!'
Authorities say brain cells may shrink, but they don't necessarily die. Frankly, I am cheered by the fact that something is shrinking. I'd be even more thrilled if what was shrinking affected my dress size, but you can't have everything.
I learned the importance of a man's chair early in life. I learned that he may love several wives, embrace several cars, be true to more than one political philosophy, and be equally committed to several careers, but he will have only one comfortable chair in his life. I learned it will be an ugly chair. It will match nothing in the entire house. It will never wear out.
I am always behind the shopper at the grocery store who has stitched her coupons in the lining of her coat and wants to talk about a 'strong' chicken she bought two weeks ago. The register tape also runs out just before her sub-total. In the public restroom, I always stand behind the teen-ager who is changing into her band uniform for a parade and doesn't emerge until she has combed the tassels on her boots, shaved her legs, and recovered her contact lens from the commode.
Most mothers entering the labor market outside the home are naive. They stagger home each evening, holding mail in their teeth, the cleaning over their arm, a lamb chop defrosting under each armpit, balancing two gallons of frozen milk between their knees, and expect one of the kids to get the door.
I've always been intrigued with the variety of answers this generation will give their children who ask, "Where did I come from, Mommy?" They will range from "Number 176 vial in Buffalo, New York," to "You were defrosted."
I've decided life is too fragile to finish a book I dislike just because it cost $16.95 and everyone else loved it. Or eat a fried egg with a broken yolk (which I hate) when the dog would leap over the St. Louis Arch for it.
Adults can take a simple holiday for Children and screw it up. What began as a presentation of simple gifts to delight and surprise children around the Christmas tree has culminated in a woman unwrapping six shrimp forks from her dog, who drew her name.
We even switched to a newly-formed church across the town that gave one hundred and twenty trading stamps each time we attended. (We now worship a brown and white chicken with a sunburst on its chest.)
I have finally mastered what to do with the second tennis ball. Having small hands, I was becoming terribly self-conscious about keeping it in a can in the car while I served the first one. I noted some women tucked the second ball just inside the elastic leg of their tennis panties. I tried, but found the space already occupied by a leg. Now, I simply drop the second ball down my cleavage, giving me a chest that often stuns my opponent throughout an entire set.
I see children as kites. You spend a lifetime trying to get them off the ground. You run with them until you're both breathless. They crash . . . you add a longer tail . . . you patch and comfort, adjust and teach. You watch them lifted by the wind and assure them that someday they'll fly.
I was trampled to death by a man who believed his luggage would be the first piece off. If he were an experienced traveler, he would know that the first piece of luggage belongs to no one. It's just a dummy suitcase to give everyone hope.
Enter my first neighbor - a woman who spoke in complete, coherent sentences, who ate with a knife and fork and who only cried at weddings. I couldn't help myself. In a dramatic gesture, I bolted the door and threw my body across it to prevent her exit. She understood.