Friday, March 31, 2006

RevGalBlogPal Friday Meme: As My Mother Used to Say

The Assignment: This morning I had a moment in which I found myself wanting to reply to my teenager the way my father used to reply to me. Most of us have some classic family phrases or retorts or truisms handed down from parents to children.

Name five things you used to hear your mother or father (or even a grandparent) say, especially things you might be surprised to hear coming out of your own mouth.

Good timing on this as my family is descending upon us this weekend (in a good way).

"You look like Lilly off the pickle boat."
Meaning you look unkempt. It was usually accompanied by patting down hair and ROUGHLY tucking shirts back in. Now my son's name fits right into that phrase but I do not like his name with a 'y' on the end. I correct people at church enough already.

Although I gotta admit as a former tomboy who heard this phrase A LOT while being put back together I have already said it a couple of times just because I can.

Has anyone else heard of that phrase or know where it comes from?

Child: "Mom, It hurts when I breathe."
Loving Mom: "Well then don't breathe."
We tease my Mom about this one all the time especially now that she is filling your stereotypical grandmother role and lets The Boy get away with everything. He's fussing in the shopping cart seat? Gram will get him out!

"R.H.I.P. - Rank has its privileges"
Used whenever an adult got to do something that we were not allowed to do/have. Usually it meant that I had just caught my Mom getting a cookie right before dinner or something like that.

"None so dumb as one who wants to be dumb."
You have to say this in a sing-songy voice in order for it to be totally accurate. The best example of its use would be in relation to my Dad.

Dad (sitting at the table): Where's the buttah? (insert Brooklyn, Jewish accent)
Mom (also at the table): In the refrigerator, go get it. (She is cleverly onto the fact that what he really means is, "Go get the butter." )
Dad (begrudgingly getting up and opening refrigerator): I don't see it. (Apparantly we had stealth butter in our house.)
Mom (rolling her eyes to us): None so dumb as one who wants to BE dumb.

At times this was also interchangeable with "If it were a snake it woulda bit you."

This one needs no words and is recognized by children everywhere as:
'The Look' (insert ominous echo)

I include it here because back in the day I could actually 'feel' my Mom giving me 'the look' and would warn my friends NOT to look in her direction lest they be turned into a pillar of stealth butter.

As a Youth Director I used it to similar effect, but have not yet pulled it out on The Boy.
He is still too cute.

When it was a cloudy day with just a few breaks of blue sky my great grandmother would say something like, "Not enough blue to paint a dutch boy's pants."

I am leaving out such classics as: "Whatever" and "Oh well" - that last one still makes my skin crawl. And the opening to every school year with, "Let's turn over a new leaf this year."

As we got older my father would increasingly say, "Your mother and I love you and support you no matter what you do."

He said it so often that we gave it a reference number so he wouldn't have to actually say the whole thing while we rolled our eyes through it.

But that phrase was the key to their parenting. I was a tomboy and allowed to be one. They never pushed me to be anything different. They raised two daughters and although we certainly have our moments both of us are confident, independent and know who we are.

I am so grateful for that especially since in the neighborhood we grew up in it would have been very easy to get caught up in the need for us to dress right, and wear make-up and do stupid things so we would at least have boyfriends.

If I can raise our child(ren) with a strong sense of self then I will consider it a job well done and the ultimate testament to all the phrases, sayings and values that my parents passed along to me.

So a bit long, but there you have it. Thank you Songbird, that was fun and...



Purechristianithink said...

My grandma also used to say the thing about the dutch boys pants--the point being that if there WERE enough blue to make a dutch boy's pants, it would clear up by mid-day. Anyone know where this folkway came from?? My grandma was german and swiss.

Ginger said...

Oh, marvelous post! Love it, love it, love it! (But that pickle boat thing is weird. :) Which is to say, I've not heard that phrase in these parts...)

Mary Beth said...

My daddy used to say "RHIP" too. He learned it in the military. It goes both ways...rank has priveleges, but also problems. ;)

Songbird said...

I can hardly wait to meet you and see if you really do look like Lilly off the pickle boat...

Lorna said...

"Not enough blue to paint a dutch boy's pants."

I heard this the other way - there's a patch of blue big enough for a sailor's trousers - which was optimistic :)