7 Things Your Mother Needs To Hear You Say

by Cheryl Nicholl

Leah Marie Goguen 1901-1985When I was a child, my mother was the center of my universe.
She seemed to alight from high, and softly land in all the right places.
She never raised her voice, and never ever raised her hand. All she had to do was look at me and say, ‘Cheryl Aaaann’.
Oh oh… I’m screwed.

1) Thank you for teaching me to use short phrases- with meaning.

How she put up with my shenanigans (I wore her gowns to tea parties in the woods and her false eyelashes to school) I’ll never know?

2) Thank you for nurturing my love affair with really expensive cosmetics, and the occasional ‘fake-out’.

I used to stage plays in our living room with her antique English solid walnut dining room chairs in the front yard set-up like theatre seats to view the play through our large picture window (I kept the front door open and everyone was required to ’emote’ loudly) as I wrote, cast, choreographed, directed, and had the ‘lead’ in my own productions.
After returning home from a long day of work, did she freak out?
No. She sat down and enjoyed the show.

3) Supporting the Arts is important.

I threw Carnivals in our yard, with the directions I had sent away for from the back of a cereal box. (Of course, I charged admission. Who wouldn’t?).
Mom simply suggested I use plastic milk jugs instead of her cut crystal vases for the Roll-n-Bowl.

4) Appropriate recycling is not always up-cycling, as in, you shouldn’t put a go-cart engine on your bicycle. I know that now.

I commandeered our dog’s large fenced pen to open a consignment shop, called the Sassy Kitten (I kid you not) and got all of my friends to bring their excess stuff and then sold it back to all of their friends. (Taking a commission, of course).
After deciding that the dog’s pen was a very good place for me, she decided to join in.
Her excess fabric scraps were stylishly folded and sold for a nickel a piece.
I could keep the change if I stayed out of her hair.
By the next weekend, all the grownups  had day-glo orange and hot pink floral cotton place mats on their dining room tables.
About time.

5) Setting trends is creating standards, and then defying them; like the clash between 1960’s colonial furniture and mini skirts.

She had fabulous taste. She was a professional model, after all.
She didn’t walk, so much as, float.
When she decided to advance her career into Fashion Coordinator for some major department stores, she decided that my sister and I could make some moola as child models, so she taught us to ‘float’.
And I got out of school to do ‘it’.
“Why weren’t you at school yesterday, Cheryl?”
“I had a photo shoot. Downtown. Mrs. Duncan.”
Holy Shit! I was in Fifth grade! What a great life!

6) Work it, Baby. Work it.

And whenever I got into trouble, or found myself in a pickle, or thought my life was ending because someone said this and then that happened and, somehow, my father’s corvette had a dent, I went to her.
Because she could fix anything.  Except me. Because she loved me just the way I was.

7) Thank you Mom. Just…


screenshotCheryl Nicholl, a.k.a. Her Majesty, writes with satirical wit about the elegant decay of midlife on her award winning blog A Pleasant House. When she’s not attending royal balls, bossing the serfs, or driving the King crazy, she can be found over-stating the obvious. You can find her behind closed doors plotting world domination or at her blog

This piece originally appeared on  April 23, 2014 in A Pleasant House.