January 19, 2012

My momma told me

The last time my mom visited, we put on makeup together in the bathroom, and I told her about a trick that she had showed me when I was younger: only put mascara on your top lashes. She didn't remember telling me. "That's common knowledge," she said. "You probably read it in a beauty magazine."

"Nope," I said. "You said it." She wanted to know how I could be sure she had. "Because what you say sticks with me," I said.

Recently I came across a list of quotations by famous writers, musicians, athletes, et cetera, talking about things their mothers had told them, and I thought it was interesting how deeply some of these quotes stuck with them, and shaped there future lives.

Here are some of my favorites from that list:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” -(Mr.) Fred Rogers

"You don't have to prove anything," my mother said. "Just be ready for what God sends." -William Stafford, poet and pacifist.

"My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors." -Maya Angelou

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” -John Lennon

"My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent. " - Ruth Bader Ginsburg

"My mother always told me, even if a song has been done a thousand times, you can still bring something of your own to it. I'd like to think I did that." -Etta James

"I hope they're still making women like my momma. She always told me to do the right thing. She always told me to have pride in myself; she said a good name is better than money."
- Joe Louis

What's something your mother told you that's stuck with you?


  1. "People are more important than things." I remembered that just yesterday when Joy was in tears over something she broke that I couldn't fix. I sat down and reminded her that even though it was sad, it wasn't something to cry over, because things are just things, and it is people who are the most important, and that's why we're always careful to not hurt other people, even more than we're careful to not hurt things.

  2. OMG I absolutely LOVE the John Lennon quote. Thanks!

    1. I love it, too! Every time I read it over, I think: YES. He had his priorities straight.

  3. "You represent the family." Now we just shorten it - YRTF. In so many ways, it has shaped the decisions I've made, and the weight of that statement carries even now.