I’m all about life truths right now because I’m raising daughters.
If you have daughters you are nodding. You get it. You understand. It’s one of the hardest mountains you will ever have to climb—mostly because daughters watch you and look at how you live your life and take notes and let you know you shouldn’t forget sorority mom meetings that you didn’t put on the calendar.
The other day one of them asked me if I could go back to college, what advice would I give to that girl back then.
I barely remember that person.
She was full of episodes of LA Law and cups of coffee and stirrup pants and blue eyeshadow and big opinions on life. But the question is a valid one. Especially because now? I live in the house where I learned all about life…
….and its lessons.
I have an entire list of brilliant advice for the road ahead that I’m planning on giving them when they graduate college, but I realized the other day that most of what I’m passing on?
Most of what I want them to take with them when they leave the nest?
Most of the wise, sage, brilliant, perspicacious advice?
I learned from my mother.
I can still hear her words echoing in this bathroom on the day of my wedding.
I can remember it like it was yesterday.
I stood right here in front of this mirror—with an attitude a mile long topped off with a southern accent and a head full of hot rollers sprayed with an entire can of Aqua Net hairspray. I was wearing bright red lipstick and liquid black eyeliner and yards and yards and yards of beaded satin with a monogrammed train gathered up behind me.
It was a hectic morning.
We were supposed to be leaving for the church and my mother was rushing around with the veil and a cake server asking me why in the world was I wearing such red red lipstick and telling me how late we were going to be and reminding me I still needed to write thank you notes and making sure all of the last minute details were taken care of.
And all the while she was talking and fluttering about I stood here in front of this mirror.
Thinking about Dear Abby.
I can hear what you are thinking.
I mean, isn’t that what every bride thinks about on her wedding day?
They would if they read the whole column Dear Abby wrote on weddings.
It explained that you should be extra careful when you get married because your wedding date and time are published for the world to see in the newspaper and all sorts of unsavory characters could break into your house while you are gone and take 23 place settings of your elegant new china and fancy silver.
And sometimes they even abscond with the occasional toaster oven.
Can you even imagine?
I loved my new toaster oven…..
……and Dear Abby had me all tied up in knots just thinking about losing it.
Panicked, I rushed from the bathroom and immediately told my mother that we needed to put our dog in the house.
I thought it was a brilliant idea.
The dog could protect the china and the silver and the toaster oven from all the unsavory toaster oven thievery.
My mother stared at me as if I had 27 heads and firmly said “NO.”
Obviously she had never read Dear Abby.
I pled and begged and let a stray tear slip from my eye and stomped my pearl-encrusted newly dyed satin heels.
All to no avail.
My mother informed me in a very stern voice—and in no uncertain terms—that the dog would be staying outside.
Even after all these years, I’m not really sure what came over me at that moment in the middle of this bathroom.
Maybe it was the hot rollers.
Maybe it was the Aqua Net haze.
Maybe it was too many well-intentioned advice columns.
But right then and there on this tile floor…
…I took my last stand.
I gathered my courage and my monogrammed train and plopped down on the tile floor with yards of tulle swirling around me….
…..and refused to budge until I knew that my toaster oven was safe.
My mother put the dog in the house and put me in the car and lectured me and my hot rollers all the way to the church.
All because I am so stubborn. Even now I sometimes I hang my head in shame when I look at that mirror and think of that day.
It was not my finest hour.
See what I mean about life lessons?
This house is FULL OF THEM.
And I learned a few of them right here in this bathroom on that long-ago wedding day.
I learned my mother was wise and brilliant and a saint all rolled into one.
I learned that if you leave your hot rollers in too long, your hair over curls itself.
I learned that taking a last stand on your bathroom floor can make you 20 minutes late for your own wedding.
I learned that sometimes when you are taking a really big step and your life is about to change, you transfer all that emotion to a countertop appliance.
All those life lessons.
I’m trying to remember them all.
Each and every one.
Especially if the twins start reading advice columns, too.
PS Just between us? If I thought my mother was wise then? She’s a Rhode’s Scholar now. 🙂