As a pre-teen, I loved Erma Bombeck. I loved how she laughed through all the stupid things her kids did, because at that age, I was doing those stupid things. With my babysitting money, I bought my mom the entire series for Christmas. They were housed in a wonderful cardboard home, and I knew it would be the perfect encouragement for my mom to live through raising her six precious children.
Years later, as a mother of my own six children, I clung to Erma’s words for a different reason. She taught me to laugh when I wanted to cry. She proved you could successfully parent without hurting any of your children.
And underneath her humor she admitted a truth most wouldn’t: parenting is the hardest job you’ll ever have.
Mother’s Day column,
May 12, 1974.
When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into his sixth day of“overtime” when an angel appeared and said, “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.”
And the Lord said, “Have you read the specs on this order?
- She has to be completely washable, but not plastic;
- Have 180 movable parts… all replaceable;
- Run on black coffee and leftovers;
- Have a lap that disappears when she stands up;
- A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair;
- And six pairs of hands.”
The angel shook her head slowly and said, “Six pairs of hands… no way.”
“It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” said the Lord. “It’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”
“That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel.
The Lord nodded. “One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks,’What are you kids doing in there?’ when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say, ’I understand and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.”
“Lord,” said the angel, touching His sleeve gently, “Go to bed. Tomorrow…”
“I can’t,” said the Lord, “I’m so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick… can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger… and can get a nine-year-old to stand under a shower.”
The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. “It’s too soft,”she sighed.
“But she’s tough!” said the Lord excitedly. “You cannot imagine what this mother can do or endure.”
“Can it think?”
“Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise,” said the Creator.
Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek. “There’s a leak,” she pronounced. “I told You You were trying to push too much into this model.”
“It’s not a leak,” said the Lord. “It’s a tear.”
“What’s it for?”
“It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride.”
“You are a genius,” said the angel.
The Lord looked somber. “I didn’t put it there,” He said.
WholeHearted Home says
I guess I could have used some Erma Bombeck!! Where can I get her from so I can catch up?
Mindy,,,I just loved this post!! Loved It!! That tear almost had me crying. Not kidding either!!
I, too, loved Erma Bombeck! While growing up, most of the time we did not subscribe to a daily newspaper. But for a while in high school, when my mother was looking to move to another state, she subscribed to a local newspaper there. It arrived in our mailbox about three days later. The news may have been stale, but the funnies and Erma were always fresh! Oh yes, I also devoured Ann Landers. But my 16 year old self never ceased to be amazed at how Erma was gifted with the wisdom of Solomon, smothered in plenty of laughs. Thanks for the memories.
I’m enjoying looking up Erma on the Internet because there’s so much more I didn’t know, even though I’ve read all her books. You are so right, the wisdom of Solomon, smothered in plenty of laughs. What a great way to describe her.
I loved Erma. Thanks for bringing a bit of nostalgia to my Mother’s Day!
You’re welcome! She buried a lot of great wisdom underneath her comedy.
Beautiful post. Yes, and motherhood requires a good sense of humour!
Yes it does! Who knew we’d be saying things like “Who cut my afghan up with safety scissors?” “Who threw Jell-O on the ceiling?”
Ann Kilter says
I love Erma Bombeck. I read her columns when I was a young mother.
Ann Kilter says
Thanks for reminding me.
I might need to read some of these books!!! While trying to do school with M&M and keep the Little-J’s from hurting themselves or the house or something… yes, I could probably use more laughs. 🙂
Definately! I also loved Family Circus. Could totally relate to the mommy of four little ones.