Eau de vie

~~ Originally printed in Carrboro (NC) Free Press, June 2009 ~~

Have you seen the mom song on YouTube? “Momsense.” Comedian Anita Renfroe has set “everything a mother says in one 24-hour period” to the music of the William Tell Overture. It’s hilarious. My kids played it for me, of course. I’m not especially YouTube literate yet.

She’s got the old standards: “Did you wash behind your ears? Don’t make me come down there! If all your friends jumped off a cliff would you jump too?” And she’s definitely got the twenty-first century momisms down: “No texting at the table. No more computer time tonight. Your iPod’s my iPod if you don’t listen up.” The children thought it was gloriously funny. But they were a bit puzzled by the presumed universality of the lyrics. Momsense is not exactly a precise replication of the mom in our house.

And they ought to know. They’ve done enough spot-on imitations of me on beach evenings when I am an easy target due to excessive sun, surf, seafood and sparkly wine.  When the adults are not looking—perhaps we are under the mistaken notion that we can let down our guard because we’re on vacation—little people scuttle through the house all ghostly and sideways and steal our clothes and identifying accessories. Then at some point after dinner, they pop out of whatever sneaky hole they’ve been hiding in and perform their “skit.”

The one humming off key while accepting a glass of wine and urging everyone to look at the sky? That’s “me.”

Yeah, they’re adorable.

If my children were to take a page out of Ms. Renfroe’s book and write a song based on my momisms, it would go something like this: Drink your water. Eat your eggs. Look at the sky! Don’t be silly—I’d never eat your chocolate. If your head hurts you’re dehydrated. Where’s your iPod? I want to hear Boom Boom Pow. Have some water. Have some more. Go upstairs. Get down here and clean the dishes. You can go play but have some water first. Heart you. Mean it. Clean your room. Look at the moon! If you don’t feel well you need more water. No I won’t drive you.

Let me just say, if they made an Ashley doll, one of the three things it would say when you pulled the string would be “Drink some water.” Not that I enjoy being boring or predictable or having a limited repertoire. It’s just something that I wholeheartedly believe.

I had a 32-ounce Nalgene when that was the thing. Now that we live in a post-polycarbonate world, I carry two big Klean Kanteens with me every morning. I’m such a trend-following consumer, I know. But I do fill it with straight OWASA tap water.

There is no cycle of life without water. Water is both source and sustainer. Water is emotion. Water is weight. Water is the basis of miracles: water into wine; walking on water. Water purifies; water heals; water is the means of Christian-faith regeneration and symbolic of salvation. Water is also sacred in other traditions.

I doubt that any of us can drink enough water. I’m amazed by how much I take in, and it’s still not close to enough. I know, I know. I’ve heard the horror stories of the super-athlete who got over-hydrated from too much water and almost died. I think those tales are perpetuated by the soft drink industry.

Feeling tired? Drink water. Troubled by acne? Drink water. B.O.? Drink water. Dry skin? Drink water. Hungry for a snack? Drink water. Bathroom troubles? Drink water. Headache? Drink water. Just wake up? Drink water. Going to bed? Drink water.

Oh, and hurry up—you’re going to be late. Call and let me know you arrived. You’re not wearing that, are you?

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