NaPoWriMo Day 9

I am a little behind in posting my poems but I still have my 30 in me.

Etiquette Lessons From My Mother

My mother sent me to etiquette classes so I could be a lady.

My thoughts ran wild with demure smiles and chiffon dresses.

I was signed up for one whole year. A year full of transformation and change.

I made it to three before she pulled me out.

My mother was reading the paper when I queried 'Are you catching up with current events so you can initiate a conversation with a suitable gentleman?"

Her eyes were a dangerous mixture of humor and anger daring me to explain my question.

So, I explained, quickly at that.

" Mrs. Franklin said 'Women must know current events so we can properly keep conversation with a male, even though we will most likely find it boring".

"What else has she taught you", my mother pushed out her clenched teeth, while abandoning her breakfast and searched for her address book.

"That you should excuse yourself from the table when you get up".

And the look came back with a fury.

She flipped the poor address book pages furiously cursing why the hell she was sending me to these classes while trying to find Mrs. Franklins number I could only assume.

"Mom, ladies don't curse".

She flipped faster.

Trying to diffuse the situation I scrambled to remember everything I learned:

"She also said not to say anything in anger and if you do not agree with a statement it's better to stay quiet than make a scene!"

That was the moment I could feel the heat from her glare settle any uncertainty in my body.

And no more pages were flipped.

In the coolest voice I ever heard my mother use, she said "You are done with etiquette classes."

Teenage angst cried out "I don't want to be the janitors daughter!"

My mother let those words bounce off her thickened skin like the water off a ducks' back.

She stated her case clearly and precisely and I never went back to those classes.

You will not learn how to banter and bat your lashes to keep a man interested.

I will not pay to have you learn how to keep your mouth shut to keep from making others uncomfortable. There are plenty of people that will try to silence you for free.

You will be a lady if you want but a woman first.

You will not fall gracefully.

You will read the paper because you want to be informed.

You will say what you want so you have no regrets.

You will hold your head high and make messy mistakes and learn your way through life.

You will be full of stength and joy and know anger and pain. You will grow from the fact that you are a janitors daughter but you are so much more.

You will be hopefully be void of insecurity and full of question and wonder.

You will keep your word and learn that is truly the only thing in life you have that defines you.

You will treat others with kindness and give people the benefit of doubt.

You will laugh loudly and crudely, letting no one shush your joy.

You will be you.

No classes will teach you that.

That is your etiquette lesson, now go brush your teeth.


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