Growing up, I heard the things that Bampa, my mom’s dad, used to say. “Another day, another dollar; a million days, a million dollars!” “I see the moon and the moon sees me and I cannot get my boot on!” “I’m tired and I want to go to bed! Had a little drink about an hour ago and it went right to my head!” Nana, his wife, added her sayings: ‘Rootatee Toot, Rootatee Toot! We’re the girls from the Institute!” “Is it kind, is it true, is it necessary?”
For whatever reason, I don’t remember any sayings from my dad’s side of the family. It’s possible that they were busy trying to make sense out of the sayings from Mom’s family.
I’ve noticed that I’m adding to the list of sayings. “Goodnight, Nellie and around the corner!” “It doesn’t make any difference to the price of tea in China!” “Well, there you have it!”
My all-time favorite saying is “Look at you!” It’s always said with great admiration – sometimes with enthusiasm, sometimes with great pride.
“Shall We Dance?” is the name of a movie starring Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, and Jennifer Lopez. It’s a story about a Chicago attorney who loves his life. Every day, on his commute home, he passes by a dance studio and sees a beautiful woman (Jennifer Lopez) watching from the window in an upper floor. On a whim, he decides to take dance lessons, so he signs up at this dance studio. He doesn’t tell his wife, Susan Sarandon, who then becomes concerned about his change in behavior. She hires a detective to discover if there’s another woman involved. It’s a really good movie and I liked it but there was a moment in the movie that hit me upside the head.
The wife sets a meeting with the private detective in order to fire him. She tells him that one of the reasons for getting married is to provide a witness to someone’s life.
When we’re young, people see us – mostly to tell us to stop doing whatever was fun to do or to come home and clean up. At some point, however, there comes a time when we decide to avoid having fun because someone will always want us to stop! We end up spending so much time cleaning up at home that we never go out of the house. We no longer are visible to anyone – even ourselves. That’s so sad!
We have so much inside of ourselves that could make this a wonderful world for everyone – if we just had the courage to let it out!
I started using the phrase, “Look at you!” when I was talking with my oldest cat, Lizzie. She joins me in the bathroom when I’m getting ready for the day. She stands next to me and just looks at me, waiting for me to pick her up. She’s the only one of my cats who will allow this.
When I reach down to pick her up, I say, “Look at you! How pretty you are! What a good girl you are!” She smiles graciously and strikes a pose worthy of a movie star.
I then started saying it to young kids that I know – children of friends or students. I would see youngsters standing next to their parents and I’d say, “Look at you! How are you doing? Are you enjoying school/vacation/working?” They would stand a little straighter and start talking with me. I’ve had some amazing conversations with kids.
The next thing I knew, I was saying it to adults! “Look at you! You look great! I like your haircut/your outfit/your fingernails/your shoes!” The adults are usually a bit disconcerted. They’re not sure what I’m doing but they usually recognize the sincerity and we can have a nice little conversation.
Once people understand that someone sees them, they change. There is a spark that comes into their eyes, they stand up straighter and there’s usually a shy smile on their face. We need to have our lives witnessed. We need to know that there’s someone in this world who sees us.
There are a lot of people who try to force our attention onto them. Those are not the ones that I’m concerned about. I’m interested in the people who stand or sit quietly while others are carrying on. Those are the people who have the power to change the world! They just need to have a witness!
Look at you! You are amazing!