14 January, 2015

Questions I Really HAVE Asked My Mother.....

So this morning I read an article entitled "46 Questions Every Twentysomething Still Asks Their Mom". I gotta tell ya, I don't know who the "twentysomethings" were, but I'm thirty six, and I haven't asked my mother three quarters of these questions, and some of them, well I couldn't help but think that the world is doomed if these are the questions our "twentysomethings" are asking (i.e.: 42. Who do I call to turn on my electricity, and 44. What happens if I don't pay my bills on time).

Maybe I wasn't given the opportunity to ask these questions because I was the daughter of a poor Southern family... Okay, that's not true, but my parents were normal middle class folks. They graduated from high school (the first generation to do so), got married, had kids, and worked - until my mom became a homemaker and decided to have me. (I'm sure she regrets that every now and again. It's ok, I still love ya mom.)

Is it common for people to have frequent flier miles? Because I didn't fly until I was 17, and that was for a special occasion - my senior trip to Quantico, Virginia. My dad flew - in the Navy, he kept his feet on the ground after that. My mom, well my mom never flew until after my father died. She was almost 60 the first time she flew. So swapping miles, and getting passports, well, we never had no need for such nonsense! (And I still don't have any frequent flier miles - or credit cards.)

As far as asking about a 401K, what number to claim on my taxes, and what to put in a CV, the family strategy on such was simple. With respect to the 401K, you lumped as much money into it as you could possibly afford until you retired. There's a check sheet for what to claim on your taxes, and I still have to fill it out and count it up every time I apply for a new job. And my parents probably think a CV is something that has music on it.

I don't recall either of my parents being called for jury duty, matter of fact I'VE never been called for jury duty. I'm willing to bet I haven't because I'm on some secret black list of potential jurors. They just don't want to deal with me. That being said, I'm usually the one everyone calls to find out how to get out of jury duty and what happens if you don't show up. I never asked my parents about jury duty because it was understood that the courthouse was somewhere we never needed to go. People who lived their lives right didn't wind up in jury pools, the defendant's seat, the county jail.... It was also understood that in my house, being arrested for ANY crime no matter how "minor" carried a penalty of death - and our parents eternal shame and disappointment. Note: Death was the merciful part of your sentence. Matter of fact, I don't think I'd even been IN our local courthouse until my baby daddy took me to court over our daughter - that was my fault for not listening to my parents and getting pregnant out of wedlock - but that's ANOTHER blog post.

What do I take to a dinner party? What's an appropriate wedding gift? Never asked them. I don't think they knew either. My parents were hermits. Actually, my father was a hermit, and that meant EVERYBODY was a hermit. I currently find these answers on Pinterest. In fact, I find everything related to being social on Pinterest, Or I ask my friend Cathy. She's amazing and should teach classes on how to be social. Primarily because I need them.

Pretty much number 21, "Why doesn't my chicken taste like your chicken" was the only one I could identify with, and it has nothing to do with chicken. My mom makes the most amazing Eggo waffles ever. My brother, niece, and I will not make our own waffles at mom's house. We will all wait until she makes them, and she still has to cut them for us. At 48, 36, and 21 years of age, we are not ashamed to admit this publicly because they DON'T taste the same if we make them. They just don't. She will probably be on her death bed and we'll wheel her to the kitchen and put the fork and knife in her frail little hands so she can still make and cut them for us. I'm not even joking.

So this leads me to come up with the questions I HAVE asked my mother. I realized as I contemplated this list that while my parents weren't wealthy or well traveled, and didn't hold some high executive position, they still managed to prepare me for life, and give me enough to get me pointed in the right direction so that when things came up that they had no experience with, that I'd at least be able to find the information or have the balls to ask for help.

In my life I didn't have the most expensive stuff, and I didn't get everything I wanted, but close enough. Better than all that though, I had the most amazing parents. I have been blessed with more love than I ever deserved. Thanks Mom and Dad.

And now for my list:

1. Can you come over and help me decorate my Christmas tree?

2. Do you prefer to season your collards with salt pork or bacon grease?

3. How many tea bags and how much sugar do you put in your tea?

4. How do I fry chicken again?

5. Does this dress look slutty?

6. Can you go with me to help me find a bra? And does this one fit right?

7. How do I lower my electric bill? And is $350 to high for AC in August in Florida?

8. I have $50 for food this week. What do I cook to stretch it into enough meals for three of us?

That's it. Because as every good Southern woman knows, nothing else really matters so long as we can fry a chicken and wash it down with a swig of good sweet tea.
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