Over the years, my mom gave out some solid advice. A few examples:
1. "Not towards the ditch! For the love of god, honey, NEVER TOWARDS THE DITCH!" (This advice came when she was very patiently teaching me to drive, and it must be said she prefaced this with many gently muttered "Honey, you're a little close to the ditch, honey, you're a little close to the edge of the road" remarks that she escalated when I continued to be magnetically drawn to the ditch.)
2. "Don't worry about them, honey. Drive your own road, and drive it the best that you can." (This advice also came when she was very patiently teaching me to drive, in response to my hysterical mutterings of, "What's to prevent those other cars in the other lane from driving right into my lane? What's to prevent them? Just those painted lines?" Occasionally, my sister and I resurrect this advice and say it to each other in different situations.)
3. "Dock the oars! For the love of god, honey, DOCK THE OARS!" (While teaching me to row--I'm still not sure what this means, but at the time it seemed to mean "You're about to let both oars slip out and into the water and float away, please don't do that.")
All of the above is very solid advice. When it came to seeking advice regarding men, however, I was pretty reticent. I was very private about such things, and I also didn't want to worry her. She had a pretty busy time raising us. She was also 34 years older than me, and I just wasn't sure if her advice would apply. At one point, however, when misery prompted me to set aside my independence and ask for help, I got an earful.
Me: "So, and blah blah blah. And then blah blah blah. And blah. What do you think mom?"
Mom: "I think you're probably making it harder than it needs to be."
Mom: "Yeah, you're overthinking it."
Me: "Oh, you must be thinking of some other daughter named Sparkle now. Ha."
Mom: "Ha ha. Really, I think you should just do what you want to do, honey. You know what's best."
Me: "Well, so what did you do when you were dating?"
Mom: "Well, when I was in the Navy, we'd tell the boys, "Keep a cool tool, you fool, I'm wise to the rise in your Levi's."
Mom: "Keep a cool tool, you fool, I'm wise to the rise in your Levi's."
Me: "How does that relate to this situation at all?"
Mom: "HA! It doesn't. I just figured it would make you laugh."
Me: "How could you even USE that in the Navy? Weren't you all isolated with other women in the Waves? Who had 'tools to rise'?"
Mom: "Silly. Our barracks were right next to the men's barracks. That line came in handy sometimes. For example, when I was up on all-night watch, Tony Rotini* would come sneaking over and visit me. He'd bring me some food his mother had made and a thermos of coffee, we'd have a little picnic, and sometimes one thing would lead to another."
Sparkle: "What were you on all-night watch for in the girl's navy on dry land? Dry-land enemy submarines? Men sneaking over? Some all-night guard YOU were. What kind of food did Tony Rotini's mother make? Did you ever get caught? Did you ever use that line on Tony Rotini? For real?"
Mom: "It was the NAVY, honey, we were always on guard for something. Tony often brought leftover spaghetti and meatballs from his mother--it was delicious--and chocolate cake. I wish I remembered her recipe for the spaghetti sauce."
Sparkle: "Did you ever get caught? Did you ever use that line? What is it? The Levi's line?"
Mom: "Keep a cool tool..."
Sparkle: "Keep a cool tool..."
Mom: "...you fool..."
Sparkle: "...you fool..."
Mom: "I'm wise..."
Sparkle: "I'm wise..."
Mom: "...to the rise..."
Sparkle: "...to the rise..."
Mom: "...in your Levi's."
Sparkle: "...in your Levi's. HA! People actually said that. And, what does that have to do with my current situation?"
Mom: "Nothing. But, at least it took your mind off it for a few minutes, huh?"
Sparkle: "HA. You're right. But, you little hussy. You and that Tony Rotini."
Mom: "That's nothing compared to what went on at the Pentagon."
Sparkle: "HUH? What went on at the Pentagon?"
Mom: "Ooh, honey--I think that's the kettle's whistling. I need to go get that, and it's almost time for Fawlty Towers."
Mom: "Sorry, gotta scoot. We'll talk soon, okay? Don't worry about this, it will work itself out. Love you!"
Sparkle: "MO-OM! Oh, heck. Love you!"
*Tony Rotini is not his real name. But, it's actually kind of close.