The nice part about age is you no longer care as much what others think. You dress how you want, look how you please, say what you feel, and do the things you want to do. That was one of the things I admired the most about my grandmother.
Gramma lived until 98, and she was well known for speaking her mind. She was funny, sweet, and irreverent as hell. All the borderline raunchy expressions we knew as kids, we picked up from Gramma. My mother wouldn’t allow us to say “hell” or even “damn” at home. I remember sitting and giggling with Gramma (my mother’s mother) at some funny thing she’d said or something we’d seen together.
Because I couldn’t swear at home, of course, I swore like a sailor away from home. I swore at school all the time. My mother always thought swear words showed a lack of intelligence. I loved my mother, but I can see now that my mother was uptight and prissy as hell. Where she got that from, I don’t have a clue. Gramma was a stitch, and my aunt (my mother’s sister) was a lot of fun, too.
I remember my mother being horrified when my aunt MaryEllen said, “If you can’t beat them, join them” about swearing (and her own teenaged children). In hindsight, my mother’s method didn’t work either. Her strict rules (she yelled at my poor father once when he said “kick him in the balls” when he got excited yelling at a televised football game) only made me want to rebel more. She didn’t make me more refined or softer spoken.
This was a woman who watched AND laughed at Monty Python sketches, for pity’s sake. She had a sense of humor, but she didn’t swear. Her favorite expression when arguing with my Dad was, “Oh, go soak your head!” I will admit that I have told my sweet hubby far worse in the heat of battle.
I am who I am. As far as my mother goes, I might’ve respected her rules more if she hadn’t been so ridiculous about allowing others to speak freely. So what if I said “fuck” on the day of my father’s funeral? I was 28 years old, and she yelled at me like I was 7. So what if my father said “balls”? I do believe that was the only borderline thing I ever heard that man say. He never swore, at least not in front of my mother, but I can guaran-damn-tee it that he swore at work.
I remember a conversation once when he was discussing his coworkers who were all older men than he was. He said something about how they all farted and they all cussed. My mother was thrilled, of course. She probably thought they were corrupting my Dad. He spent five years in the Army during WWII. Does she think the soldiers were all non swearing, gentle-bred men? It was the Army and it was WARtime!
I often think my mother would be disappointed in how I’ve turned out. I’m happier than I’ve ever been, rough edges and all. Sometimes I cringe internally when I hear myself (thanks, Mom). I swear more than my trucker husband does. My oldest son got worse at his first job. He worked at a car dealership with a bunch of guys, older mechanics. He came home with funny stories about one guy nicknamed “Hippy” who swore every other word. You had to laugh at some of the things this guy came up with. My youngest son swears, too. Who cares?
I know. My mother would. But my mother has been gone thirteen years. So I swear. I have five tattoos. I have pink highlights in my long, naturally curly hair. I wear black fingernail polish, leggings and rock band t-shirts.
I also have two college degrees, one earned with a 4.0 GPA. I’ve worked since I was 19 (forty years). I’ve been married (according to Date Calculator) 10,451 days or 28 years, 7 months, and 12 days. I have two adult sons, 27 and 22. I have my own home, and I pay my bills on time. I read. I write. I play the guitar. I may not be outgoing, but I can fake it. I may not be a great housekeeper, but I’d rather do other things than clean. I may swear, but I don’t drink or do drugs.
I can hear Toby Keith singing, “How Do You Like Me Now?”
I’m not positive my mother would like all of my rough edges (many of which popped out after she died), but I hope she’d find enough here to be proud of raising.
How do you like me now, Mom? And I’m really not sorry I posted the word ‘fuck’ online for all the world to see. Shit happens.
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