Shocking: Mom Actually Knew Best
I must admit two things this week: I turned 25 and I think my mother was right.
When I was growing up, she’d say that one day I would understand what she was saying. I think at this birthday, I’ve sort of gotten a hold on some of her knowledge.
Now I know some of you are thinking at 25 I’m still a young gun, and I agree. If I live to be 75, then I’ve burned up one-third of my life. So at this silver milestone, I remember my mother’s words and find a new perspective on things.
A friend and I decided that 25 is the age to put your life on the right track (I know there are some people out there who were drunk til they were 30 and then got it together, but this way you have an extra 5 years). Thirty is the point when people start looking at you and saying, ‘“It’s time to grow up, quit living in your parents basement and wearing your pj’s until noon.’” Maybe if I grew up with Paris Hilton’s money then it would be OK to still be partying and being pretty for a living. But I didn’t, and taking mom’s advice has proved to be a better asset.
At this ripe age I’ve had an epiphany: I think my mom actually knew best. She always said I would realize she was right. I hate when she’s right and she was right twice. She was right about being right.
I spent most of my middle and high school days being ‘too young’ for stuff. ‘“Lauren, you’re too young to watch that movie, get your ears pierced, or go on a car date.’” All things I didn’t even want to consider I wasn’t ‘old enough’ to do at the time. Even now, looking back I am astonished at the things she let me talk her into.
She was steadfast that I was not going on a senior beach trip. Four 18-year-olds, unsupervised, 500 miles away on the sleazy Myrtle Beach strip; my mom couldn’t think of anything more horrendous. I’ve got some pictures my mom has never seen to prove just how fun that trip turned out to be. My older siblings would shake their heads, jealous because I did things they were never permitted to do.
One thing I haven’t figured out is at exactly what age do you stop being ‘too young’ and become ‘too old’?
‘“Eat your veggies, wear sunscreen, and stand up straight.’” All great advice, courtesy of my mom. Some of her advice that I thought was ridiculous at the time (‘“don’t call boys on the telephone, you’ll seem easy’”) actually helped me out. Other advice just stemmed from the age gap, and involved New Kids on the Block, grunge clothes, or ‘those rappers.’
During high school in the mid-nineties I embraced the grunge era by buying every flannel shirt the local mall had to offer (I think I was missing the whole point of the movement, but it least I was in style). This fad almost sent mom over the edge. She told me I’d be sorry I didn’t show off how skinny I was ‘… if I could have that 16-year-old body back for a week I’d be happy.
I eventually figured out the New Kids were lame, but I still defiantly listened to Biggie and Tupac.
I was always wondered, and never had the gumption to ask, if my mom had come by all this knowledge the hard way ‘— by living the mistakes ‘— or if she’d had been as perfect as I had always imagined. I’ve never asked her about her teenage years, which was in the late 1950s in small town West Virginia. I can’t imagine anything too deviant going there.
Mom told me a story once from her high school days about her tossing her boyfriend’s high school ring at him in a fit of jealousy. I can’t even imagine that exchange because it’s tough thinking of your parents in another lifetime as something other than a middle-aged mom or dad. I guess things turned out OK for her: that boyfriend later became her husband and my dad.
Occasionally, I call up my mom for some advice on life. She always prefaces her answers by saying, ‘“Well, this is what I would do’….’” Sometimes I take the advice and sometimes I do the exact opposite.
Recently I called her up for some advice on a new job, and she said, ‘“Oh that seems a little risky. I wouldn’t do it.’” You’re reading this and I didn’t take her advice. She admitted this weekend she might have been wrong for once.