Our mamis' greatest hitsEvery culture has its sayings and refranes, but when they come out of our Mamis' mouths, don't they just sound hilarious? Add to that their way of saying things, plus the contradictions in their advice and you end up with a Molotov cocktail of plain, unadulterated funny. In my house, we call it "free entertainment."
Here are some of the most frequently heard pearls of wisdom at my house (and maybe yours, too):
On eating: We come from a long line of gorditos in my family, so having a mother, aunt or abuela tell me I was fat was definitely the pot calling the kettle black. Amazingly, the contradictions on the subject were customary. An exchange like this was an almost every day occurrence:
-Nena, ¡te estás poniendo gorda! ¡Mira que pipa! (Girl, look at your belly! You're getting fat!)
A few days later, Mami would serve me a plate so large, a football player could never finish eating it, because…
-Nena, te veo muy flaca. ¡Tienes que comer más! (Girl, you're getting skinny. You gotta eat more!)
Really? And another food-related favorite-
(Kid complains there's no food in the house)
Que Mcdonalds, ni que McDonalds, ¡aquí hay frijoles!
On punishment: We use to hear some great ones at home regarding the "fuete" you'd get at some point or another. But our favorite was one my Mami used to say whenever she'd get mad and was getting ready to spank, but too tired to come where we were:
-Nene, ¡ven acá que te voy a dar un galletazo! (Kid, come here 'cause I'm gonna slap you!)
Of course, who was going to go willingly to this mad mama to get a…?
galletazo, cachetazo - slap
correazo - spanking with a belt
cocotazo - slap over the head
nalgada - slap on the butt
Not any of us!
On going barefoot: Smoking, boozing or even overeating weren't the biggest health hazards kids could encounter as far as my Mami was concerned: it was going descalzo! Too bad because one of my favorite things in life was going barefoot: all day, all the time. So you can imagine what that was like:
-Nena, ponte zapatos. Nena, ¿donde están tus chancletas? Nena, ¿a que andas descalza? (Girl, put shoes on. Where are your slippers? I bet you're going barefoot right now!)
Years later, I found out that there was actually a Catholic order of nuns called the Carmelitas Descalzas whose sacrifice was to go barefoot, so I threatened to join. In other news, Mami and Papi are still telling me to keep my shoes on.
On guilt: Cuando me muera se van a acordar de mí (You'll remember me when I'm dead). No one brings the drama like the Latinos.
We may laugh or even get aggravated at some of the stuff our parents say, but it's part of who they are and part of what makes us miss them when they are gone. And like my abuela used to say, ¡Eso es así!