My mother had recurring sayings like, “She’s left nothing for the imagination.” (translation: “Girl, put on some clothes!”) and “If it makes you happy, it just tickles me to death” (translation: “I’m neither happy nor tickled with your decision.”). She had many sayings. Some were common. Some were not. But, the way she said them—her tone of voice, her inflection, her sarcasm—was uniquely her own.
Over the years, my sisters and I would try to list all her sayings and we would tease her about them. What’s interesting, however, is although we can’t recall using them in conversation ourselves while she was alive, after she died my sisters and I began saying them all the time—in her voice—with the same inflection! When it happens we’ll look at each other like, “Where did that come from?” Then we smile—because we know exactly where it came from.
It happened to me the other day. One of Mom’s sayings was, “You’re getting a little too big for your britches.” She’d say it when one of us—her kids or grandkids or great-grandkids—was getting a little too cocky, a little over-confident. It was frequently said when one of the babies was learning to walk. You know, when those little legs are moving out of control and destined for a fall. Well, Sunday morning at church I saw a little one barreling through the crowd and sure enough out of my mouth came my mother’s voice, “You’re getting a little too big for your britches!” I had to smile.
It’s comforting for me to know that my mother’s voice is stored in my brain down deep somewhere. I know that it has to be, because it comes out of my mouth so often! Sometimes it comes out in her exact words like those familiar sayings, but more often than not it’s her voice that I hear in my own voice.
Luckily, I always lived close to my mom, so I got to spend a lot of time with her. We worked together, grieved together, celebrated together, and just hung out together. It was both quantity AND quality time. I’m grateful for every minute! And so, it’s no surprise that her voice was not lost, but that it continues to speak through me and my family.
Hmmmm—just thinking. I wonder if I’m spending enough quality AND quantity time with my heavenly parent? I hope so because I really want God’s voice to be stored in my brain down deep somewhere and I REALLY want it to come out when I speak.