The Weight of Words

6 years ago

I love Erma Bombeck and I miss her.  I will be sad when I can’t find any more of her quotes to use in my sidebar.  The one I just posted brought me to tears as I remembered the more trying years of my motherhood:

“Good kids are like sunsets. We take them for granted. Every evening they disappear. Most parents never imagine how hard they try to please us, and how miserable they feel when they think they have failed.”

Erma Bombeck (U.S. humorist, 1927-1996)

Although I hate to admit it – whether it was because of stress, immaturity or high strung temperament –  I often lacked patience and gave in too easily to thoughtless reaction.   I credit my dear husband for providing the counterbalance –  his manner was always temperate and his reactions always measured.  So when our son was in college and my husband offered a constructive opinion on a particular issue (the details of which I have long forgotten), I was surprised by his response, “Dad, you don’t realize the weight of your words.” Wow! That was an eye-opener for me – a bit too late though. If this was his reaction to his father’s understated opinion, then I could only imagine how hard he had tried to please us and how sensitive he had been to criticism.  I desperately wanted a do-over.

Whether it’s because “older is wiser,” or because outside stresses have abated, or simply because our temperaments mellow a bit as we age, the years have granted me a better awareness of and control over the words I choose.  And although I am resigned to the impossibility of a do-over,  I believe the lessons learned promise benefits for not only my grandchildren, but my children as well.

Question: What’s your reaction to Erma’s quote? Please let me know I’m not alone out there. Thanks.

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