Some of Mama’s sayings confused the daylights out of us children. These tended to be the old Jamaican/British proverbs or parables.
If we saw our mother looking worried about something, and asked her what was wrong, she might tell us this story:
“Little Pig said to Mama Pig: ‘Mama, why is your snout so long?'”
“Mama Pig replied: ‘Ah, m’child. You’re growing up, one day you will find out for yourself.'”
What kind of answer was that? And I didn’t like the idea of being compared to pigs. But she never explained what she meant.
In later years, I figured it out:
1: It was ‘adult business’ that was worrying her – we were too young for her to share it with us.
2: The troubles of life can make a person weary and ragged. Sometimes it’s hard for a child to understand. But, when we grew up, we would.
At least, that’s what I think she meant.
44 thoughts on “Mama Said…”
I’m guessing she knew that even if she explained the situation you wouldn’t have understood. There’s only so much we can grasp as children, no matter how smart we are. Experience matters.
There aren’t many animals that are as cute as that piglet!
Silly and wise your Mama… 🙂
I miss her for so many reasons, the sayings being only one.
She sounds like a wonderful person. You honor her with your words and memories.
She sounds incredible and so is that piglet!
The southern version “What cha doin, Mama” answer “Going to see a man about a dog” No dogs were ever found.
I love that saying too, Amy, and sometimes I use it myself. Except my version is “Going to see a man about a horse.”
Horse, well, the Canadian version – Mounties and all?
Could be. Or came from some western movie, maybe?
My mother used to say: “Little pitchers have big ears.” It was her way of saying to the other adults–Sshh. The kids are listening to grown-up biz:). Similar to your mother, I think–but sounds like your mom noodled silently.
Gee whiz – That’s so familiar, with the same meaning. I have to tell you: my mom turned that too into a pig story. Because she (and my grandmother) said: “Little pigs have big ears.”
Lol. I think I’d rather be a picture than a pig. Yes? Could have been my mother that changed it to pitchers! Who knows?
Your mother was a wise woman. 🙂
Yes, she was, Theresa. Solid as a rock.
I think you were right. A philosopher, your Mum
Yes, indeed, Derrick.
I never heard that saying before! Did you ever hear it from anyone but your mother?
I think all Jamaican mothers knew it, and I bet that in an earlier generation, some British mothers used it too.
Little piggies are very cute and curious 🙂
Love this post! Such great memories you share!
Mamas are pretty smart.
Your Mama’s story gave you something to fasten your wondering on, I think, and kept you puzzling and pondering as a good tale should. And now you have reminded me of the times I would wonder what my own mother meant… I can’t tell you how long it took me to realize that “handsome is as handsome does” is literally true.
Oh, I remember that well. And: “Pretty is as pretty does!”
A much better answer than “Nothing!”
I think so.
So wise and loving! Her answer gave you something to think and wonder about and much better than shutting you out by saying bluntly you were too young to know. She could have pretended there was nothing wrong but I don’t think your Mama could have told a white lie like that. Neither of my parents had sayings or told stories or parables – I feel quite deprived!
A wise analysis, indeed Clare. I’m betting you are right. If your parents didn’t have sayings or parables, I’m betting your grandparents did. It was what they used in earlier days to help raise their children in so many cultures, especially Britain. I figure those sayings came from England to Jamaica more than a century ago, and stayed!
My grandparents probably did have sayings though I don’t remember them. My mother’s mother did make up stories as cautionary tales and they were all pretty horrific! I remember a terrible one she told us about the dangers of eating string! She was very superstitious as well and had second sight which my mother found very unnerving when she was a girl.
Wonderful mother saying, it probably kept you quiet for a bit working it out too. You’ve made several of my mother’s sayings come to mind… Don’t keep your wishbone where your backbone ought to be… but the only wishbones I knew were in chickens.
Ahhhh… I love that one, Hilary! What a wonderful saying. I think I’ll need to remember that, even now.
I heard a lot of that growing up. That is a great old proverb your mother kept on hand! 🙂
They used all these different tools to help to parent us!
Your Mama was wise as were my Mom & Dad. I see too many young parents today telling their children everything they have no business hearing or knowing at a tender age. Breaks my heart.
Good point, Linda.
Brings to mind a couple of my father’s sayings in response to questions from us kids that he didn’t want to answer.
“If you’re writing a book, just leave that chapter out.”
“Don’t worry about the mule going blind, just keep on loading the wagon.”
I love those, Bill. Wonderful.
My Mom used to do the same, i.e., evade telling me what was going on, (but without the piggie part), and I never liked it. That `you’ll understand when you grow up’ was never a good enough answer for me; I always wanted her to give me a try because maybe I could have helped, maybe made her feel a little better. Kids are so much smarter than adults give them credit for. 🙂
That’s true. But in my mother’s generation, adults didn’t share openly with their children. Mama became more so as we grew older, and I was very glad for it.
True in my Mom’s generation as well, yet there were parents who were willing to explain a little, at least in the interest of not causing more anxiety in their child. My mother was not one of them, but my girlfriend’s mother was. I’m glad things have changed.
I love it! My mother used to say “the Lord will provide” to ANY question!! Didn’t understand then but starting to now!
I cam imagine her saying that, Glynis. She made such a profound impact on my young life. and my mother used to say the very same thing.