Saturday, April 6, 2013

"Be a Gentleman" Is Not Helpful, Ma!

This weekend's Trifextra challenge is to provide some advice in a tidy 33 words.


"Be a Gentleman" Is Not Helpful, Ma!"

"Be a gentleman."
A mother's counsel
To her teenage son.

For a boy seeking tips on techniques,
this philosophy of life; unappreciated.

Years later,  
a wife sees her Mother-in-law
and smiles.


My father passed away when I was eleven; just as I was on the cusp of discovering girls.  In those pre-internet days, you got your information about the birds and the bees from your parents, from books or, if all else falied, from the street.  Without a father figure to talk to, I was left to approach my Mom.  She, newly widowed and overwhelmed, responded with a series of books from Reader's Digest and the single pearl of wisdom stated in my story.  

At the time, self-centered as most teenagers are, I failed to appreciate that my mother had given me advice that would end up forming part of the foundation of who I became as a man.  However, at the time, I simply was unsure about how to kiss (eyes opened or closed, lips together or apart?) Did holding her hand mean that we were going out forever?  Where should I place my hands when we were close?  "1-2-3 Becomes Infinity" spoke to this coming-of-age angst.  I wanted to be judged as knowing what I was doing because I didn't know anything about girls and had no one to talk to about it.  Would I have gotten the same advice from my Dad, if he had still been alive?  Maybe not.  How would life have turned out for me if I would have had a father's roadmap to guide me instead  of my mother's Holy Grail?

In any case, hindsight being what it is...........I am thankful for the advice that I was given because, the alternative is too weird to imagine now.........getting make-out advice from my Mom is just wrong, wrong, wrong.  :)

34 comments:

  1. What an awkward position for both you and your mom! Glad it turned out well in the end--isn't hindsight great? :-)

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    1. In this day and age, kids can get You Tube tutourials in almost anything so feeling anxious about not knowing how to do this or that isn't as great today as it was back in the 70s when I was a teen. They certainly have different pressures, for sure. But, back then, it was my mother or nothing basically. Never appreciated how she may have felt until much later in life.

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  2. This is such a lovely piece Tom, especially in the context of your backstory. It must have been a tough spot for your mother to find herself in. I'm glad her advice paid off in the end. Love that last stanza!

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    1. You know that teens are so self-absorbed. I must not have been the easiest teen to deal with for my mother; especially in terms of dating advice, for sure. Glad you caught where I was going with the last stanza. If not for my Mom's advice, my wife might have a different kind of husband, that is for sure.

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  3. Apparently, you were a smart boy with a wise mom. Of course being Canadian helps. Every time I see your page, I'm homesick for Canada. I lived in Alberta one year and it is such a wonderful country. I love my own, but Canada is special to me too.

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    1. We Canuckleheads aren't half bad, are we? :) As far as my Mom goes, she can say the wackiest stuff sometimes but, she also comes out with smart advice, too. I have learned to respect her opinions. They certainly don't rule my life but, they have, undoubtedly, shaped it. I am lucky to be her son.

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  4. Lovely and touching prompt! The backstory is very moving too!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate your comments a lot. :)

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  5. Make out advice from moms just shouldn't happen! True that.

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  6. Funny that I never viewed it as such until much later on in life. At the time, in the 70s, she was the only adult in my house. I was the oldest child. If I couldn't ask her about life then, I had no one to talk to. We, certainly didn't get any of this taught to us in school in those days. But, looking back, I can't imagine how my Mom must have struggled with how to talk to her boy about teenage urges without venturing into a bizarro world. At the time, I didn't think she was very helpful but, as an adult, I appreciate how she handled things. Hopefully, I'll be as wise when my girls reach their teens.

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  7. Be a gentleman. That truly says it all. Your dad must have been one.

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    1. I believe that my Dad was a gentleman. I was only a boy, around six or seven, when he began to have health problems. Eleven when he passed away. Unfortunately, I doubt I ever really got to see him at 100%. Nevertheless, the man I remember was a hard worker, a church goer, treated my mother kindly, etc. Wish I had known him longer but,............... :(

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  8. Thank you for sharing your mom's advice and its history. Very touching.

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    1. My pleasure. Glad you liked the story. Thank you very much for your comments. I appreciate them immensely. :)

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  9. Thank you for your heartfelt story. I am sorry that your father passed when you were so young, your mother's guidance and helping hand (passing the Readers Digests made me laugh) I have scanned these occasionally ...did they have the birds and bees articles, or your poor mum not knowing where to turn placed them into your thirst for knowledge hands :-) and hoped for the best. I have 2 girls, so I don't know what I would have said, should a son have asked. My daughters have never broached the subject - learning along the way from friends, school and the like. An open relation is the most magical thing to have and should they have dared to come near me with a question, I would have explained the best I could..I think.. without blushing that is. I think you are a gentleman Tom :-)

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    1. Thank you very much for your beautiful comment and your compliment. I will treasure your words forever. :)

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  10. I'm a sucker for an awesome parent/child story like the one you shared. And maybe getting make-out advice from your mom is awkward (okay, no maybe about it!) but I'm sure she was a great help with everything else, as her advice attests!

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    1. Een at age 81, my Mom still rocks! Thanks for the comment, Draug, you busy girl, you! :)

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  11. Losing your father at such a young age must have been difficult. It looks like your mother took up the mantle superbly. The knowing smile passed between wife and mother-in-law is evidence of that.

    Thanks for linking up!

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. Glad you caught the significance of the closing stanza. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your comments.

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  12. What a moving and thoughtful tribute to your mom. Well done. I went with the parental advice angle too, but I went in the opposite direction. :)

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  13. Thanks for your wonderful comment, Lumdog. I am glad that people are liking this story. It seems like many of this weekend's comments stem from advice from our parents. For better or for worse, our parents certainly cast a long shadow over our lives. Glad for my mom's advice, even if it took awhile for me to appreciate it. :)

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  14. Your backstory made this all the more poignant. Sounds like your mom's advice still served you well.

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  15. Mothers and their sons, you know. :)

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  16. My sister was widowed at age 32; her husband had an immediate death from an embolism and the two boys woke up with no dad, so I truly appreciate the pickle of the opposite situation. Somehow she got through the 'weird part.' I know because my nephew told me he always uses condoms!!

    The moment I read how your wife smiled at your mother, I got tears in my eyes. Beautiful... I learned from hard experience that the best gauge of a man's character is how he speaks to, and treats, his own mother. Because that's the way I got treated. Got it right with Lex!! Peace, Amy

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    1. Thank you for an awesome comment! Sorry to hear about your sister's situation. Sounds like she had a good head on her shoulders and did a good job of parenting under the circumstances. I harbour much respect for anyone who manages to be a good single parent. Thanks, again, for writing such a thoughtful comment. I deeply appreciate it.

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  17. I believe that it the best possible advice, Tom. Great post.

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    1. Thank you, Kymm. Your opinion holds a lot of currency and thus, I feel enriched by your words. :)

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  18. Neatly done!
    The advice was excellent. Maybe not for quick grope-and-smooches, but certainly for a lasting relationship!

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    1. I would like to think that my wife would agree with your sentiment. Thanks for stopping by with your comments. I appreciate them a lot! :)

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  19. beautiful tribute to your mom. Your wife is a lucky woman. :)

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  20. Thanks, Barbara. Somedays my wife would agree with you and some days.......she'd trade me for a bag of pucks......and, she doesn't even like hockey!!! :)

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  21. This was touching. It also gives me hope that maybe (someday) my sons will absorb some of my advice.

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    1. They are being shaped by you more than you may realize. Like me, the appreciation may not sink in for awhile but, believe me when I tell you, you have laid a strong foundation for their future success in life just be loving them with a Mother's love. :)

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