You know how moms say all those crazy things? If you’re a mom, you know. You’ve said words that should never be together in a sentence or, worse, sentences that used to come out of your own mother’s mouth years ago. My mom had no amazing sayings of her own, all hers were standard fare, but she did follow through on her threats.
She was always a big fan of the “If you don’t knock it off, I am going to pull this car over!”
And she did. Several times.
Once, Chris was being such a little shit that I think Mom considered murdering him. We were going into town and Chris was acting up, per usual. Mom threatened him with the big Pull Over and he didn’t stop so she pulled the car well off the side of the road, well, Interstate, actually, and once The Ford was safely parked, she flung herself over the seat into the back seat to smack Chris only because he was part monkey, he jumped into the far back of the vehicle and a 3 Stooges skit ensued. Mom and Chris were diving over seats, getting out of the car, running around the car and getting back in via another door, Chris simultaneously shrieking and chortling, Mom making dire threats. A police car pulled up behind us to see if we were alright and Mom used that to her advantage, telling Chris that he’d been misbehaving so horribly that the police had to show up. I don’t remember what happened afterward – I think Mom explained to the officer that she was trying to kill her son because he was being a horrible monster and I think the cop did the disapproving stare and gave Chris a “Listen, Young Man” lecture through a window and then Chris settled down, but I might have made that ending up, I don’t know. I do know that no one was arrested or murdered and we all made it to town and back in one piece.
She also enjoyed “Don’t make me come over there.”
You know, the first ten times you hear that as a kid, you’re maybe a little concerned. But note: there’s no consequence implied. What’s going to happen if you make her come over there? Nothing. So after twenty more times that threat is spoken, you’re not worried because it’s meaningless noise.
Until something does happen because you know what? My mom liked to mix things up. 30 “Don’t make me come over there”s were general operating procedure but she meant the 31st. She came over there…with a wooden spoon and we all got smacked about the head, shoulders, fleeing butts, whatever. From then on, irritating Mom was a little like playing Russian Roulette; we never knew which “Don’t make me come over there” was real.
Once Noelle got old enough, probably Kindergarten-aged, Mom broke out the “Stop your crying or I’ll give you something to cry about” threat. I don’t know that we’d really heard this much before the advent of Noelle; neither Chris nor I were big cry-ers. But Noelle was. By the time I heard that threat, I was eight or nine and logic was beginning to grow in my head. I thought, “She’s already crying about something, even if it’s something stupid. It’s not like she’s just crying on a whim.” Apparently, I was wrong. Mom would go over to Noelle, take away whatever she had, pick her up, carry her to her room, put her in there, and shut the door. That definitely gave Noelle something to cry about.
There was one dire promise Mom never did make good on. When she was totally fed up with us – which was just silly because, honestly, we were adorable little angels all the time – she’d yell, “SO HELP ME, GOD, I AM GOING TO SELL YOU TO THE GYPSIES!” yet she never did. It may have been because there were no gypsies in Colorado Springs who were willing to buy children. Or, more likely, as she’d explain later, “You children are so bad not even the gypsies would want you.”
I guess this is what being a mom is all about: Making ridiculous threats, luring your children into a false sense of security, then pouncing! Apparently, it teaches manners or responsibility or twitchiness or something. Actually, not true. You know what we did learn, aside from self-preservation? A sense of humor because we figured out that if we made Mom laugh while we were still on the verge of being in trouble, we could get away with pretty much anything. There was no threat that could withstand the force of funniness and that is why we are all comedic geniuses today.
I wonder if moms still do this – promises of retribution – or if this is something of the past…like Monchichis and Walkmans? If this is no longer a thing, you kids have no idea how easy y’all got it these days.