Saturday, June 30, 2012

Does Your Mother's Voice Ever Go Away?

I was attending a company meeting in Denver a few years ago, and on our last day there the agenda was a casual breakfast, a Super Shuttle to the airport, and a flight home.  Breakfast was buffet-style with a variety of goodies including scrambled eggs, bacon, cereal, granola, yogurt, fruit, all the good stuff.

With a plate full of these options, I was sitting next to the President, Tom, Senior, enjoying the food and the conversation, when I realized I had committed my typical buffet sin of taking more than I could eat, and I mumbled something about having taken too much.  In his typical wry fashion, Senior said, "Your mother isn't here.  You don't have to eat it all."

Senior's success stemmed from his ability to slice a dilemma, put a finger on the sore spot, and know that your mother's voice is all too often singing in the back of your head.  She probably told you, on more than one occasion:
  • Hang up your clothes.
  • Eat your supper.
  • Clean your plate.
  • Make your bed.
  • Eat what I gave you.
  • Because she's your sister.  (Or brother, I suppose.)
  • Because I said so.
  • That's just the way we're going to do it.
  • Pull it by the roots!
  • You didn't finish yet.
  • Wipe your feet.
  • You don't need that.
  • Be nice.
  • . . . and countless other warnings and advisories.
Many of us have lost our mothers, but the voice in the head, the perpetual conscience, will always be there.  That may be a good thing, even though as adults we should be fully self-guided.  But occasionally I think back to some of the situations I was in 50 years ago and the decisions I made, and hear myself thinking, "Gees, I wish I wouldn't have done that."  I know my mother would have prevented those bad moves had she been standing there.

I don't think her voice will ever go away, and this post is testament to that, I suppose.  So I had a light breakfast this morning, and ate everything.  Just like she would expect.

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