When I was a child, I had this habit of putting my fingers in my mouth and stretching my mouth out, horizontal-like. My mother HATED it when I did that. She would always tell me that if I did that enough times, my face would stay like that. I did it anyway. I don't remember the reasons why I did it. Maybe I thought I was being funny. Maybe I knew it drove my mother crazy. Maybe I just liked stretching out my face. Who knows? Anyway. I will never forget the day I stopped doing it. I was 5 years old, and we were in Nebraska, visiting my grandparents. We were sitting in church when my mother leaned over, and whispered "See that man sitting on the back row?" I turned and looked and saw a man in a light green button-down shirt. Then my mother said "Look at his mouth." His mouth was stretched out, horizontal-like, as if he had his fingers in his mouth and was pulling, but his fingers weren't in his mouth! Then my dear, kind-hearted, sweet mother said to me "If you don't stop pulling your mouth, you are going to end up looking like that man!" It terrified me to think that my mother had been right: My mouth would stay stretched out forever! It had happened to that old man, and it would happen to me. Now, many, many years later, the image of that man is still fresh in my mind. And to this day, I have never stuck my fingers in my mouth to stretch it out. I am still afraid that my face will stay like that.
So, on this Mother's Day, I want to say thanks to my mother for taking an everyday situation and using it to scare the crap out of me in order to get me to stop a habit she hated. That is a gift and a talent, and quite frankly, completely messed up!