Monday, February 15, 2010

One Hundred Things My Mother Taught Me A Million Times - Chapter 27

#27 – “Put a dishtowel on the kitchen counter when you're making coffee in the morning so you won’t wake up other people.”
 (Photo is of my sisters Gloria, and Dot, my mom, my sister Honey and me - 1979)

This one of one hundred things that my mom taught me a million times nearly makes me tear-up. If I could only use one word to describe my mom it would be “considerate.” So many of the things she taught (tried to teach) me were about being extraordinarily considerate. I’d like to think that this lesson “took,” and from a very specific point, I know it did. To this day, I don’t make coffee in the early morning without tiptoeing around, taking care not to clang dishes or silver, and yes, placing a cup towel on the counter to absorb sounds. Click on "Read More" for the full story.

 One memory that comes back so vividly as I consider this lesson #27 was right after my daughter had her first child and came to visit. It was so critical to be very, very quiet in the morning so that we didn’t wake up the baby (Sydney), and my daughter (JoLene). As any mother knows, you don’t ever want to wake up a baby, especially if you’ve spent much of the night trying to get them to sleep. I literally took the coffee bean grinder into the utility room (what I grew up calling the “wash room”) and wrapped it with a towel to muffle the grinding sound. I cringed with every little “tink” and “clunk” trying so hard to make coffee without waking the baby.  Truthfully, I suspect this was also about needing a cup of coffee and some quiet and solitude before the house “came to life,” but it was also mom’s lesson #27.

This wasn’t really an issue for me when my kids were little. At the time, my husband, our three kids and I lived in a sprawling ranch-style house with the bedrooms far from the kitchen area. Now I live in a house that is much more compact, which means that sounds travel easily.

On a side note, I’ve always said that the only people who want big houses are people who've never lived in a big house. Of course that is relative to whether or not you personally clean and care for that big house. Back in west Texas, the culture in which I was raised, you didn’t have house or child-keepers. That’s what wives were for!  I’ll never forget one of my “Ladies Bible Class” matrons saying to me one day back then. I was in tears over some gender inequity, and she said, “Women’s reward is not on this earth SueAnn. It is in heaven.”  I remember feeling stunned and cheated.

Since I’ve opened that can of worms, please forgive me, but I have to rag on men for a minute – or more specifically my husband (whom you know I adore). I’d really love to hear from you. Is this is a man thing, or is this my man thing? Crouse-y-poo (the hubby) and I have had more arguments about him not being quiet when babies/kids are in the house and sleeping. I swear, the man is either missing the “when babies are asleep you’re quiet” gene, or the “think beyond your own head” gene. It never matters how many times I remind, plead, beg or threaten him, if there’s a sleeping baby/child in the house, he slams doors, talks loud, and turns the TV up as loud as he pleases – and gets extremely pissed when I point this out to him. I tell my daughter it’s because he/men never have to deal with the consequences of waking a child. OK. Got that off my chest.

Back to mom’s lesson #27, being quiet in the morning. I also think that the reason this lesson stuck with me is because I cherish the morning quiet myself. That is a magic time for me. When I read and write. When I can get so totally into my own head that the world disappears around me. I have so many memories of my mom off in her bedroom reading, and you’ve heard me say before that I didn’t hear her say 10 words a day.

For me this begs the question. Are we naturally considerate about the things that are important to us, and less so about the things that are not?  Something about this rings true, but regardless, mom was right. You should put a dishtowel on the kitchen counter when you're making coffee in the morning so you won’t wake up other people. You should always be considerate of others, and of yourself.



  1. That's a good pic of chicks i mean relatives.

  2. Yep - back when we were in our prime for sure!

  3. How considerate - and typical - of your mother. This is one I have never heard. Here is a quote from Emily Post that fits the occasion: "Perfect manners are ideally those which are the spontaneous expression of innate kindness and generous consideration for the feelings of other." Your mother's actions fit the bill! Wouldn't this world be a lot nicer if we all adopted the "consideration for the feelings of others" way to live?

    Oh, by the way, I have heard the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree? Charlena

  4. I love the Emily Post quote Charlena, and thanks for the falling acord comment! I would love to think that I was as considerate as my mom.