My mom came to visit last week. With the help of lots of bourbon, tequila, and grits, two Southerners managed to survive the Arctic blizzard that rolled through—well, Mom didn’t get away without catching a pretty bad case of bronchitis and a lungful of black smoke from the accidental almost-fire I set to the chimney, but hey—things could always be worse up North. Way, way worse. We do boast the harboring of the Yeti up here, after all.
My mom’s visit prompted me to write up a top 15 list of her oh-so-wise lifetime of advice. I’ve been far away from home in this Great White Arctic for two years now and I don’t think I’ve ever really understood and come to appreciate my mother’s (sometimes absolutely crazy-sounding) foreboding phrases more than I do now. I cannot even count how many times I find myself muttering “Now I understand why my mom did [insert motherly genius-ness here].”
Top 15 Things I Took From My Mama’s Wisdom Bank With Me To The Arctic
1.) “Be grateful for your eyebrows.” Maybe this sounds like a weird way to start off this list, but hear me out. I grew up with a mom who had no eyebrows. None. I’m serious. I watched her meticulously create eyebrows on her face every single day of my life and she did it perfectly. So, I listened to my mother and never drastically changed these brows, embracing the fact that I had them at all. And now that I’m up in the Artic, they kind of serve as miniature face scarves, so that’s a plus…
2.) “When you have a sore throat, just drink whiskey.”
3.) “When you have a stuffy nose, just drink whiskey.”
4.) “When you have a full-blown flu cold, just drink whiskey.”
5.) “When it’s 1:13 p.m. on a Tuesday, just drink whiskey.” (You get the picture. It’s always whiskey ‘o’ clock somewhere…)
6.) “Let’s go to Key West!” (Always cures the winter blues or any other serious ailment. And Key West never runs out of whiskey.)
7.) “If you would have done it the way I told you to in the beginning, you wouldn’t have this problem now.” Oh, God, in so many ways was she right about this…
8.) “Do you want me to make you some grits and/or a grilled cheese sandwich?” Always say yes. Always.
9.) “Never be without good lipstick.” Not for the pretty factor—it’s so that I don’t chew my lips off as they peel disgustingly away during the Arctic winter.
10.) “Let me teach you this card game…” I found this insufferable when I was younger that my mom always wanted to teach me some new card game to play. Now, the fact that I know probably almost all card games ever invented serves as extremely helpful when the Arctic snow knocks the internet out and interrupts a Netflix binge. (Mom, you still know more card games than I ever will. But I’m damn good at Old Maid.)
11.) “Always wear good underwear in case you get hit by a car.” Which has a high percentage of happening in the Arctic where people tend to think they can drive. On ice. In a Prius.
12.) “Come snuggle with me.” I have never been a super affectionate person, so I rarely would snuggle with my mom when she asked. Now that I’m all growed up and so far from home, I wish I would have taken advantage of snuggle requests—because now I miss my mom’s daily affection more than ever.
13.) “Don’t sit that close to the TV, you’ll go blind.” SHE WAS RIGHT! It happened. And I’m really bad at putting in contact lenses. It never takes less than an hour…
14.) “You can hold it.” Oh, we all know this one. Long family road trip in the minivan, whining to pee every ten minutes. The woman who bore you gives you the Mom Look and utters that phrase. Without her refusing to stop at 27 gas stations on the way from Atlanta to Savannah, I wouldn’t be able to hold my pee for, say, two days at a time when it’s Ice-Skating-To-Hell kind of freezing up in the Artic and you’re afraid if you drop your pants, you’ll get frostbite.
15.) “Always remember that no one ever has to get you anything.” I’m pretty sure she was talking about gifts, but this phrase that my mother said billions of times to us growing up has taken on a different meaning for me now. I live in a place where the winters are not only brutal, but they last 6-8 months. So, when a miracle happens like today and we get a 40 degree heat wave and two hours of sunshine, I am ready to send Mother Nature a gold-embossed Thank You card.
While there are sooo many more than just those tidbits, I’ll save it for another day—I wouldn’t want your head to explode from so much wisdom.
Thanks, Mom. Miss you already.