Even when I hadn’t asked for her opinion.
Even when my life was clearly none of her business.
Even when she was obviously so old-fashioned and out-of-touch that her opinion could be safely ignored, if at all possible while nodding silently, as if in agreement.
That’s what I did every time she railed against alcohol and illegal drugs, claiming that they were horribly dangerous.
How silly, I’d think while nodding thoughtfully. Getting high is fun and I am immortal.
It's what I did when she insisted that I learn to behave like a lady, because someday those skills would come in handy.
Yeah, right! Like I'll ever want to spend time in polite society.
It's what I did when she told me that the #1 criterion for choosing a man to marry was respect.
What? Me marry? How impossibly old school!
It was also how I responded when she begged me to read her Kathleen Thompson Norris novels, promising that I’d cherish them as she had.
No mystery? No suspense? No feminist doctrine or sex? No way!
And when I could bear to keep my mouth shut, it was the way I greeted her constant yammering about a God who loved me dearly.
Oh yeah? Then how come my dad died when I was just 17?
As it turns out, my mother was right about all of these things, as well as about virtually every other piece of advice she ever gave me. Why in the world did it take me almost a half a century to figure it out?
“Wisdom is so often forged in the sufferings of experience,” wrote Ray Comfort in a footnote to 2 Chronicles 10:8 in his phenomenal The Evidence Bible. “Youth forget that the aged were once young and impetuous, and formed much of their life’s philosophies from their mistakes.”
I‘m certainly living proof of that. Now that I’m in my 60s, I have all kinds of hard-won advice that I’d love to share with wild and crazy young women.
Just about all of it would echo what my mother tried to teach me so many years ago. And somehow I expect that their silent responses would echo my own.