She had a hit for every syllable: ‘Don’t. You. Ever. Talk. To. Me. Like. That. Ever. Again.’ That was the last time I ever talked back to Mom.—Misty May-Treanor
Mom faces are unique in that only your mom’s expressions work on you. Your best friend’s mom can give you the same face and you just blow it off like, “Meh, she’s miffed, but what’s she really gonna do about it.” When your mom gives you a look, though, you know what she can do on the follow-up and you know you don’t want her to go there, especially in front of your buddies. By the time you’re nine or ten and starting to think of some really serious trouble, your mom has those looks down so well she hardly even has to speak to you. You just meet her eyes and you know; either she loves you more than anything, or one more slip up and she’s burning your bed on the front lawn.
I don’t think moms, especially young moms, really have much choice than to develop those facial expressions. They have so many other things going on around them, they don’t always have time to give a child the tongue lashing they deserve. I can remember some Sunday mornings when my mother would be singing in the church choir, smiling away until she saw that I wasn’t in my seat, but under the pew playing with the car I’d snuck into m suit pocket. She’d keep smiling until our eyes met. Pow. I was done for, my future was sealed and it wasn’t going to be pleasant. All that in one very brief glance that most people probably never noticed.
There is not anyone who can achieve as much with a single glance as can a mom. One look and you sit up straight and stop pinching your sister. One look and you hear yourself confessing to stealing the last cookie. One look and you really wish the whole earth would just open up and swallow you.
One look and you know you are loved and cherished more than anything or anyone in the world.
I’ve seen comedians who could make a lot of different faces, but no one is as effective as is a mom; it’s a talent inherent to the position. You’re not going to beat them, ever, not even after you’re a mom yourself. I’ve watched it happen while I was backing slowly away trying to not make any noise. The older mom won. No contest. I’m pretty sure I felt the earth shake, though. All the more reason to be good to y our mom. You don’t want that disappointed I-gave-birth-to-you look.
Behave. Mom’s watching.