I’m all about life truths right now because I’m raising daughters.

Sigh.

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 cheer 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.

Yikes.

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 it’s 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.

This is where I stood the day of my wedding.

Right in front of this mirror.

I can remember it like it was yesterday.

I stood right here—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 and 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 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.

Dear Abby?

Seriously.

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.

You know.

So the dog could protect the china and the silver and the toaster oven.

My mother stared at me as if I had 27 heads and firmly said “NO.”

No?

Really.

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.

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 ground with yards of tulle swirling around me and refused to budge until I knew that my toaster oven was safe.

*sigh*

It was not my finest hour.

Even now I sometimes I hang my head in shame when I look at that mirror and think of that day.

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. 🙂

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Comments

  1. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    My mother raised six daughters all within 8 years of birth (twins at the end!!!) She had her hands full and we grew up in the fifties and sixties and seventies so there!!! Lol One was born with a hole in her heart, so was very sick. My mom was a jewel and still is.

  2. Image for JC JC

    I love this, KariAnne! It is so true! And we get to pass along those life lessons even after they leave the house! What a precious gift it is to be a daughter and have a daughter❤. I think all the time of my Mom, missing, so very much,those past moments, and desiring so much for future ones together, that cant be here on earth. So, ask those questions and receive those answers when you can. Time goes so very fast, and everyday is a gift.💝

  3. Image for Lyn Lyn

    My Mom was a lovely lady - we always had a good time together. Without even saying so, she taught. me a bunch of life lessons. My daughter paid me the biggest complement a couple of years ago - she had 2 babies within one year and 6 days - and we were there every day for 12 hours at a time helping out. She said to me one day - "Mom, you always made everything look so easy" - Wow! I said back, "Oh, and it was!" Tongue in cheek of course! I guess she was watching and learning all that time.

  4. Image for Linda Miller Linda Miller

    I've raised two daughters as well. I think, as they are now adults, their strength in being single working moms, has shown me how amazing they both are...surviving heartache and raising my wonderful grandchildren. I think your beautiful girls are going to be just fine, We always worry whether we are being the best moms we can be, that never ends. Things my mother taught me are with me every day after all of these years. But you are setting a great example. Never underestimate your girls, they will amaze you. (By the way, your melt down moment was hilarious.)

  5. Image for Charlotte S Snodgrass Charlotte S Snodgrass

    You are such an inspiration. "Asking me why in the world was I wearing such red lipstick..." This made me laugh as I thought of things our mothers said to us. Thank you for the joy you bring to others through your writings.

  6. Image for Vicki McCloskey Vicki McCloskey

    I love your memories because they also take me back down memory lane. You are such a delight! Thank you for being so real.

  7. Image for Miss Anne Miss Anne

    Thank you so much - I appreciate the vote of confidence especially when we don't see eye to eye over tables, paint colors and furniture arrangements, but thank goodness we do agree on faith, family and being fearless - love you much, mother

  8. Image for Theresa Boedeker Theresa Boedeker

    Here's to wise mothers who had our back even when we thought they did not. So I guess your toaster oven was still there after the honeymoon, despite the absent dog? Hey, I understand about getting worried , especially when it is your first and only toaster oven and you know life won't be so good without your presents. Love this story.

  9. Image for Jennifer Dynys Jennifer Dynys

    I love that your mom chimed in on the comments!! I can totally hear my mom saying something like that about lipstick too! She used to comment on my comfy pants and say..."It's no wonder you don't have a boyfriend." Thankfully my husband married me in spite of my ill fitting comfy pants! Reflecting and keeping things in perspective is such an important step at this stage of the game with teenagers! I am trying to be very thoughtful before I open my big mouth!

  10. Image for Charlotte Charlotte

    I love your stories! You are a great example for your daughters. Our mothers teach us so much; however, sometimes it takes us years to realize it. My 81 year old mom taught me how to make jelly this week. 😀

  11. Image for Sharon Sharon

    Well, I was at the church on time; pacing back and forth because the groom had not showed up. Back then, the wedding planner was the person whom you bought your flowers from. She was trying to keep me calm and my Mother was trying to get me calm. Now I was a very feisty redhead and I was going to call off the whole wedding. But...all his relatives from his small town were not here either. Did they all stand me up. Mom kept saying everything is going to be o.k. while I continued to pace and say "I'm calling off this wedding!!". So finally this blue eyed blond hair good looking groom to be showed up with his entire family in tow. I was still pretty ticked off because I could see he did not have on the beautiful long sleeve shirt I had bought for him to wear with cuff links. Being 6'4 I wanted him to look good. Mother said, everything is o.k. and I guess that is true because we have been married for 58 years although I am still mad he did not have on that beautiful shirt I purchased for him. MOMS ARE THE BEST WHETHER HERE OR IN HEAVEN! P.S. Thankfully we moms got smarter as our kids, girls and boys, get older and they have kids and how we are very smart!! lol

  12. Image for Maureen Provost Ryan Maureen Provost Ryan

    I was hoping for a photograph of you in That Amazing Dress on your wedding day. You described so well, I am dying to see it and you in it! Can we coax you to share a picture? Have a great weekend!

  13. Image for Teresa Gonzales Teresa Gonzales

    Oh so true! You must have deja vu moments all the time being back in your childhood home. You are right about mom’s. Glad she was there to make sure you made it to the church.😍

  14. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    Oh, sweetheart, you are my favorite storyteller. You've done it again. You share the precious thoughts of your heart and we all are blessed! Thank you! ❤

    1. Image for Rev. Suzanne Taylor Rev. Suzanne Taylor

      I agree with LYNN MOSHER. You touch our hearts and make us happy. And you give us a good laugh while at that. Thanks!

  15. Image for Maria Maria

    KariAnne, I am crying again..... You seem to transport me to different times of my life and I thank you for that!!!!!!! I am quite sure that your daughters will learn so much more from you than they will learn during all of their college years.:)

  16. Image for MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!)

    Oh! KariAnne! Just love your stories! Your girls are so blessed to have you as their dear and precious Mom -- and you are so blessed to have your dear and precious Mom! Your girls have learned so much from you and these life lessons will never be forgotten! You and your dear hubby have done such a wonderful job with raising your family! God bless you!

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