You never know what will stick, not really.  My mom said something to me in the middle of the night when I was in high school, I felt dramatic and wrought over a boy I adored and was ready to go all “Say Anything” over the whole thing.  She said, “It isn’t whether they say yes or no, but the asking that changes the relationship.”  I waited – then I didn’t wait anymore.

I was in college in a multi-day rage over every slight ever committed by anyone I’d ever known.  Hissing and spitting and cursing all the evils.  My mom said, “If they entire world is being an asshole – it might be you.”  This one has morphed over the years and now as a little cousin named “If they were smart and thoughtful yesterday they still are today – you just can’t hear it yet”.

There are more, there always are, and we each have our own.  I see my friends with the phrases that have gone with them through their lives, seeing the new ones get incorporated.  How we view our power, as told to us by those we keep closest.  The glee, or horror, to realize a moment’s comment has become a phrase for someone we love.

I know I can’t control what snippets of my voice my kiddo will take forward.  When he stands in the mirror evaluating his worthiness for the job, or the person, or the moment.  When he goes to bed at night after a terrible mistake, and who he’ll choose to be in the morning when he gets on his feet.

I don’t know what I would say if I WAS going to script those moments.

Although I often saw my dad enraged at power tools and lumber, I only remember him being angry with me once.  It doesn’t matter what he said (I honestly don’t remember the words) but I can see all of it.  Alternatively, I can’t remember an exact situation where he said, “atta girl” but that is what I hear when I need it.

I’m melancholy today a little, dad’s birthday is coming, and Memorial Day, and Father’s Day.  I’m thinking about the voices that linger and the messages they send.  I hope, I think, in the end, that kiddo knows that trying is worth it.