We all have our stories to pass on. Some are amusing entertainment; others explain dramatic family dynamics. The process of going through my Mom’s photographs is becoming all consuming and bringing to light many stories that my extended family might or might not know. I thought I’d start a series of blogs on Mom-ism and Dad’s words of wisdom.
For being the mother of five, Mom was a pretty placid person. She was fun and knew how to laugh heartily. She danced with us, read to us, played games with us, and always got the joke even if it was off color but, one thing Mom did not appreciate was anger. Yes, she got exasperated at us; how could she not? There were five of us. I know we tried her patience and she would fuss at us but her word was law and we learned not to cross her. If Mom told you to do something, all she had to do was give you that “Look”. You know the one? The “Look” that tells you without a shadow of doubt that you have just committed the most terrible, most heinous infraction and you were in for it. Even when we really messed up royally, Mom almost never spanked us. She used Dad for that. “Wait till you father gets home” were words to make anyone shudder.
In Mom’s world, it wasn’t worth harboring anger. She firmly believed it was okay to be angry, it was okay to voice your opinion; it was completely acceptable to use your anger to channel that anger into something beneficial but, she also believed you should find a way to get rid of any animosity and find a way to negotiate peace before you went to sleep that night. She truly embodied the Bible verse Ephesians 4:26 – “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.(NIV)
I remember being angry at my sister often; what can I say? We shared a room and she was younger so she should listen to me, right? It seems in retrospect quite often we’d disagreed on something almost always something trivial, my Irish would get up, I’d yell at my sister then Mom stepped in and put me to work scrubbing floors. Always the floors. She believed if you had enough energy to be that angry, you could channel that energy by working it off and what better way than to scrub the floors on your hands and knees? “And while you’re on your knees, you might try praying for your sister instead of getting angry at her.” I guess she figured if she could get us on our knees, we’d learn the calming effects of prayer and she got a clean floor at the same time.
Win-Win for Mom. A quiet peaceful home and clean floors…..perfect! Dad had an obsession about clean floors, I had anger management problems, and Mom found a way to channel that anger into clean floors for Dad. I’ve got to say, I still clean floors on my hands and knees when I get angry. I find it very therapeutic.