With the Academy Awards airing just a few nights ago, I thought it apropos to draft this post, which has been circulating in my head for some time. Its inspiration was this great post on a classic film, The Princess Bride. Films and their motherly heroines provide much fodder to guide the novice mom like me, so I pull from some of their sagest advice and thus present “Parenting Pearls from the Silver Screen.”
“If you cannot think of anything appropriate to say you will please restrict your remarks to the weather.” Mrs. Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility
Mrs. Dashwood’s advice to her youngest daughter holds much merit. I’ve gotten better at small talk over the years, but I still look with admiration to those who can carry on a conversation comfortably with strangers and acclimate into new surroundings with ease. For folks like me, the weather is a trusty conversation starter, and if you live in the Mitten state like I do, the weather provides plenty to discuss.
“Just because you can’t see something, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.” -Jackie Harrison, Stepmom
Two nights ago, I had the honor of serving as my niece’s Confirmation sponsor. As we sat in church listening to the archbishop discuss the significance of the Holy Spirit, I leaned over to my niece and whispered, “Did you know that your mom’s Confirmation sponsor was Grandma Roe?” My grandmother (my niece’s great grandmother) would have been 95 years old that night. She was the very best example I could ever have of living selflessly and loving unconditionally. She would have very much enjoyed seeing her great granddaughter experience this sacramental rite of passage. But I know that just because she wasn’t sitting in her usual pew to the right of the altar that she wasn’t right there with us.
“I can’t have a baby because I have a 12:30 lunch meeting.” Diane Keaton, Baby Boom
For all you working moms out there, this one’s for you. My daughter’s music/story time class falls on Fridays at 11 a.m. right about the time I get ready to join a standing client call from the office. So I don’t get to take her. But she still gets to go (thanks mom)! It’s not an ideal setup, but it works for now as I figure out how to make this juggling act called working parenthood fly.
“I realize as a woman how lucky I am. I was there when that wonderful creature drifted into my life... M’lynn, Steel Magnolias
Amen. Despite the Magnesium Sulfate (damn you), giving birth to Baby Blue was the most awesome experience of my life, and I’d take the pain, discomfort, 1.5 hours of pushing and post-baby body changes (we’ll leave it at that) any day of the week to have had the experience we women are so fortunate to have in child birth. There really is nothing to compare it to.
“Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it” Marmee, Little Women
As college graduation neared, my mom made numerous references to my moving away. This time farther than 45 minutes from home. This time all the way to another state. This time to a big city. I wasn’t sure I wanted to follow in my sisters’ footsteps and live in Chicago. But my mom didn’t wait for me to talk myself into staying. She knew better than I did that I needed to experience life and to live on my own, supporting myself in a city where the job and cultural offerings abounded. And so I did, albeit uncertainly. And oh what wonderful things did come of it!
“You have to do the best with what God gave you.” Mrs. Gump, Forrest Gump
As my mom often says, there’s always going to be someone smarter, faster, more clever, better looking, more outgoing, etc. We’ve all got one life to live, so we must make the best of it. Now the hard part: remembering to put this into practice each day.
“The only thing I have ever said to you, ever, is that I want you to be happy.” M’lynn, Steel Magnolias
Steel Magnolias is rich with great one liners. It was tough to narrow it down to just two for this post. (I’m seriously considering writing a post solely focused on the wisdom imparted in the lines of this tearjerker.) But this particular line–delivered by M’lynn to her daughter Shelby in reaction to the news that her daughter is expecting a child despite doctor’s warnings–is the hope of every mom, or should be anyway. My daughter has two dimples that appear only when she smiles. I see those dimples throughout the day every day, and it’s my prayer that I continue to see them with as much, if not more, frequency as she grows into adulthood.
“From your head to your toes, you’re not much, goodness knows. But you’re so precious to me, cute as can be, baby of mine.” Mrs. Jumbo, Dumbo
I don’t really have any wise words to share related to this line. I just wanted an excuse to post a cute picture of Baby Blue.