Wednesday, August 7, 2013

the best advice ever

No hide, no Christmas box.

Right now, your face is blank. Unless you're among the privileged few who has heard this phrase before. Think about it for a minute... Got it?


Well, think of it this way: No courage, no reward.

There are mothers who raise their kids with oodles of cuddles and lashings of sympathy. There are mothers who raise their kids with a hands-off, you-can-do-it attitude. And there are mothers who raise their kids with pithy sayings.

My mum, like her mum before her, was one of the last kind (the first kind, too). I've had no cause to regret it. Present me with a sticky situation, and you can be pretty sure that one of my mum's sayings is on the tip of my brain, rescuing me from my not-so-carefree personality.

The other day, I asked a sales assistant to take half the price off a half-way-through-the-year Tolkien calendar, and she did. I'm not the type to approach a stranger and ask for something, so I've got my mum to thank for the extra money in my wallet. No hide, no Christmas box.

Here's another. Imagine your son is the saddest-looking clown in school, not having a shiny wig like all the other clowns, just a random collection of drooping clothes from his sister's dress-ups. Not that this would ever happen to me. But if it did, I might happen to say, as my mother said to me, It's not the end of the world. Because it's not.
I was once on the tram, scrambling for my ticket, when something embarrassing and *cough* feminine may or may not have fallen out of my handbag, in full view of the passengers. It must run in the family: my Grandma carried out an entire conversation with the milkman at the door ignoring the underpants around her ankles, the elastic having given way thanks to a bad case of pregnancy belly. Oh well, You've got to laugh or you'd cry.

You know those little phrases that get handed down like a family fingerprint? Every time my mum and I set off on a mother-daughter outing, the seat belts would click and she'd say, Well, this is fun! Much to my daughter's annoyance, it pops out of my mouth (I can't help saying it! I have to say it!) when we set off anywhere. I tell her she'll say it to her daughter one day. She tells me she won't. We'll see.

Now let's put them together.

Let's say, theoretically of course, that your boys are behaving, as boys will, with maximum noise and falling-about, right in the middle of Myer, despite all your tellings-off, and they pull over, of all things, a rack of expensive suits, and the women at the counter gives you a dirty look when you apologise, and says, in a fierce hiss, "I'll fix it", when you offer to put them back ...

It's not the end of the world. Now you're feeling a little better.

You've got to laugh or you'd cry. Now you're giggling.

Isn't this fun? Now you're talking like my mum, and all the better for it.

Written, very, very late - with apologies, but holidays are important, people! - in response to Meredith's writing challenge.


Rachach said...

The story about your Grandma with her undies around her ankles made me giggle. Thanks Jean :)

Suzie B said...

I have been following your blog for about a month now and I think you are fantastic! Honest, bold, funny, insightful, relevant and challenging. Thank you thank you. And special thanks for putting me onto Vitamin Z- very helpful! Thanks for all your posts. I LOVED this one!

Jean said...

Thanks, Rach and Suzie.

Glad you're enjoying reading, Suzie.

Yes, it's a great family story, isn't it, Rach? Both my Grandmas were pretty spunky women! :D

Catherine said...

Loved this post Jean! We could do with a little more of the phrase 'no hide, no Christmas box' around here.