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Did your mom speak in ‘momilies?’

I wonder how many times my children and friends have heard me attach this phrase to a statement I was about to make or had just uttered: “As my mother used to say…”

While searching the bookshelves in my husband’s office, I finally found  “Momilies and More Momilies,” a book by Michele Slung. She defined momily as a sermon made by a mother. Just flipping a few pages reminded me of things my mother said that fit the author’s description.

When my mother said “no,” she meant it; no compromising. Her answer was a definite no. If I even looked like I might question her about that “no,” she made it clear I had better not, and added, “And don’t ask me why.”

Did you ever dare to ask permission to go to a Sunday afternoon movie, go swimming with a bunch of friends without a chaperone, take a ride with someone your mother didn’t know, or participate in some other forbidden activity and qualify your request with the plea, “Everybody else is doing it?” Of course, mothers’ answers were always, “Just because everybody else is, you are not going to.”

Were you ever reminded that if you cannot say anything nice about somebody, just don’t say anything at all about that person?

Every time I see tempting, plump, juicy grapes in the produce department of a store, and wish I could sample one to see if it is sweet or sour, the voice of my mother comes to mind: “Never eat fruit or berries that haven’t been washed. They might make you sick.” To this day, I never have. Honest.

During moments when something made me angry or I was on the verge of tears and I made ugly faces, my mother reminded me if I didn’t straighten up, my face would freeze that way.

Mother liked to keep things neat at our house. One of her rules was, “Don’t sit on the bedspread.” Through the years, I have, but never at her house.

“If you are leaving the house, make sure you wear clean underwear in case you are in an accident.” Or your mother might have also reminded you not to put on ragged underwear.

One of my mother’s favorite stories was about a five-year-old who was hooked up to one of those horrible permanent wave machines (now definitely antiques). As her mother sat fanning her head, the youngster placed her hand under her chin and sighed, “Oh, what we women have to go through to be beautiful!” Perhaps her mom had used a momily similar to one mentioned in Slung’s book to convince her to get that perm. “If you want to be beautiful, you have to be willing to suffer a little.”

Honor your precious Mother this Mother’s Day. Be sure to show her in some special way you love her. And remember, as some moms say, “If you don’t clean your plate, you can’t have any dessert.”

Happy Mother’s Day.