I Love Erma!
I know you ladies who are my age or a little older, remember Erma Bombeck. This was a writer who chronicled the hardships of motherhood, but she wrapped them in humor. She passed away many years ago, but to this day if I want a laugh, I will read her. She definitely understood the nuances of the relationships that the child and parent become very needy of.
Her three kids were really little when the first fast food places hit the scene. She used to write about the depths she would go to just to make her home cooked meal as attractive as the ones from the fast food place. She started by letting them yell their orders in her mouth. That went nowhere, and neither did her success rate. Could you in a million years imagine the biggest worry is getting your kids to eat at home?
She never discussed crude or sexual issues, but every thing she wrote was golden. Because she made us laugh. She was traveling with her kids, and she saw this young mother who looked like hell. She walked up to her and said, “Hold on sister, hold on.”
Only mothers would have the nerve to say that to a stranger. Can you imagine your husbands walking up to a young dad now, and saying the male version of that encouraging statement? First off, it isn’t your husband who takes the three kids into the bathroom with him now, is it? He can come home and say, “Boy, am I tired!”, sitting down and flipping through the channels to find a game. The wife goes into overtime right then, makes the kids look good, and warns them to be quiet because their dad just worked an entire 8 hours! Give that man a prize!
I never understood the women who first sacrificed any bikini wear for the rest of their lives, then act like a house worker because their man walks through the door. She has been up since 5am, made the lunches, took care of little things that never are as little as once thought, and she is not entitled to rest?
Even in the 50’s, she saw this irony. To really understand how groundbreaking those books were, you need to remember that in those times, the women were supposed to get dressed nice for her husband when he came home. My mother in law even has a book that tells her to sleep with a smile so if the man wakes up in the middle of the night, the wife will look happy and satisfied. She is probably dreaming about George Clooney, hence the smile.
Times have changed. Women are at times the sole bread winner in the house, while the man is the housekeeper and child care giver. Men become embarrassed by this, when they should feel grateful they got to be home to see the first step, the first word, every first. I know when I was gone frequently, I missed too many milestones of my kids lives. That is a regret that will stick with me until the day I go on home.
If you have young kids, be happy if you are the parent that stays home. It will be over in a second, and you will realize that the money, the co-workers, none of it is worth it. What is of value, is the little feet that run up and kiss you just because they can. The little look on their faces the first time a new food is introduced. I know it is hard, I have cleaned puke, had loose diarrhea that ran down the leg, in an airport, with only one diaper left, one wipe, and an 8 hour plane trip by myself home. That was, without question, the worst trip in my life.
Now I look forward to grandchildren. Not one of the guys is ready, but one day... My friend's daughter just had a baby. She has been so excited, it got her through the New England winter. Congrats, Bobbi. I am jealous, I won’t lie. She is beautiful!
In Bombeck’s later years, her kids were grown and she wrote about retirement. Her most famous of those books were “If You Start To Look Like Your Passport Picture, It Is Time To Go Home.” Pick up one of her books, even if it takes going to a used bookstore. If you have been a parent, I guarantee you will laugh!
I think of her three kids and the husband she left behind. I think he is still alive. He was easy fodder for her books, and he didn’t seem to mind. I like him, just because of that. I know her kids are grown, maybe even close to my age. I loved your mom! Erma was the best!
Have a great day. Remember to support indie writers. We will talk again tomorrow. Ruth