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Editorial: No blood, no foul: lessons from mom

HAMBURG — When I was a kid, my mom had a famous saying: no blood, no foul. As a clumsy, uncoordinated child, it meant that, if I wasn’t bleeding and still had all the necessary appendages, I should get up, dust myself off and get back on the playground, with the other kids.

As I grew older, the phrase took on a new meaning. “No blood, no foul” applied to losing out on a part in the school play, not getting into the college of my choice, finding that a romantic interest was one-sided, and all the other, myriad disappointments of my adolescent and teen years. Even if I thought I could never show my face at school again, I still had to get on that school bus and get on with it, no matter what.

Now, as an adult, the old adage still runs through my mind. Tried a recipe that doesn’t look like the picture or taste like the description? Literary magazine submission rejected, for the millionth time? Didn’t submit the winning bid for an item or property? Snubbed by a friend, criticized at work or spoken harshly to by a stranger? Haircut, color or style didn’t make me look like Jennifer Anniston (again)? “No blood, no foul.” No matter what tribulation might darken my door, mom would tell me to get up and get on with it. No matter what.

My mother taught me many lessons, over the years, but this is the one that has stuck with me and the one I’m sure I will impart to my own children, one day. Hers was a realistic viewpoint on child-rearing. My brother and I were not coddled through childhood. We were expected to pick ourselves up, wipe away the tears and get back in the game, unless a dose of the dreaded Bactine was needed. My brother and I quickly learned that a stinging shot of that stuff wasn’t necessarily worth the momentary comfort of whining about our injuries.

As an adult, I have learned that the stinging consequecnces of airing my grievances may not hurt like the medicine of my childhood memories, but it has its own backlash, that lasts even longer. I know that now, because of the lessons I learned when I was too young to know I was learning.

I may not spend as much time scraping my knees on the playground as I used to, but mom’s lessons have helped me keep my mouth shut and my complaints to myself, saving face and a little stinging, in the process.Thanks, mom. For the lesson, the hugs, the kisses and yes, the Bactine. And happy Mother’s Day to you and all of the moms out there. We love you.

Guest editorial by Lizz Schumer.

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