“Don’t Come Cryin’ to Me!”

My kids tell me that when I die my tombstone will read: “Don’t Come Cryin’ to Me.” I inherited the phrase from my father who did not tolerate fools. It’s not that I lack sympathy or am particularly unforgiving, I just hate stupidity. Or maybe a kinder way to say it would be I am easily frustrated when people exercise bad judgment. My oldest is 14 and I swear he was wiser when he was 10.  Last week he and 2 friends rode bikes to the movies (sans helmets) and left them outside the theatre. Without locks. Did I mention bike theft is up 54% in the movie theatre’s urban neighborhood? Did I mention these were my husband’s babies, I mean bikes, and cost more than my wedding ring? I have to admit part of me was SAD that the bikes were patiently waiting for them after the movie.  I am foolish enough to think that would have shaken some sense into his teenage brain. My girl friend told me it’s not his fault, that his frontal lobe in currently detached from the rest of his grey matter. He’s is just as much a casualty of his teenage lunacy as I am.

Every year at the Exponent Retreat there’s a talent show where gifted women sing or read their poetry or belly dance. Since I was blessed with the gift of mockery, each year I come up with alternate lyrics to familiar tunes, usually hymns. I fancy myself a cross between Janice Kapp Perry and Weird Al. I wrote the following song to express my frequent maternal frustration.  I know it shouldn’t make a difference, but somehow it’s easier for me to cope with my kids’ bad choices if I verbally warn them that I not only disapprove of said choice, but I cannot be expected to coddle them after.  I’ve been humming this all week.

To the Tune of “Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel”

1.Our home has need of thoughtful kids
Who have a listening ear.
But  if you choose to ignore your mom
I don’t want to see your tears.

Don’t come crying to me;  no way.
You don’t listen to a word I say,
If you think it’s fun, to hold scissors and run
Then don’t come cryin’ to me.

2.When you go barefoot in the street
Or shove beans up your nose,
Don’t boo hoo to me in surgery
That’s just the way it goes.

Don’t come crying to me; no way.
You don’t listen to a word I say,
Life’s a Pain when you don’t use your brain
So don’t come cryin’ to me.

3. When you stay up late texting friends
Then can’t get up for school
Don’t come to me for sympathy
You know my golden rule.

Don’t come crying to me; no way.
You don’t listen to a word I say
You will weep if you don’t get sleep
Just don’t come cryin’ to me.

4. We can’t escape the misery
That comes from a bad choice.
I work like hell to teach you well
So listen to my voice!

Final Chorus

Come cryin’ to me anyway
I wish I could make it ok
Heartbroken and Sad
Nobody’s Mad
So yes, come crying to me.

Do you have any phrases handed down from your parents that have crept into your speech? What things did they say that tortured you as a kid?

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9 Responses

  1. Kirsten says:

    Heather– your parodies are the highlight if the talent show for me and I LOVED this one from last year! When I was growing up, my dad liked to say, “Better never than late… So never be late.” He would always be ready to go for things at least 20 minutes early. As a kid I would be running to the car with my shoes under one arm while still trying to put on my jacket. After much “discussion” about tardiness I blossomed into the unusual teen who actually was up and ready to go to early morning seminary 20 minutes early each day.
    Now I’m the toe-tapping one– particularly on Sunday mornings. The idea of hurrying doesn’t exist to either of my kids or even my husband (though he is fine everytime the place we need to be doesn’t involve Church– think Mormon Standard Time) I don’t use my dad’s “better never than late” saying as they might agree and stay home. Instead, I have turned the tables on my teen and started dragging my feet and being whiny whenever she needs me to give her a ride somewhere. Maybe the next time she exits the house on a Sunday morning, her shoes will be in her feet…

  2. EM says:

    Hilarious and what a great talent to have.
    Because my children’s brains fell out the moment they turned 12 and didn’t get them back again until they turn 19 or 20, my constant refrain was “Honest to Pete!”, or “For crying in the sink!”. Who Pete was I have no idea, and there ties when I did cry over the sink, but it was better than swearing, although there were days when a good expletive would probably have shocked them into reality.

  3. Mark Brown says:

    When I was little and whined a lot, my dad used to offer to give me something worth crying about.

    I was visiting my adult son two months ago and heard himn say the same thing to my grandson. I don’t know whether to be proud that the family tradition is intact, or sad.

    • April says:

      My parents said the same thing. I hated it. They also said, “Life’s not fair,” a lot, which I don’t mind as much, because it is very true.

  4. Diane says:

    When I was a nanny and my kids whined I just sent them to their rooms until they could come talk to me. Their parents use to hate it because they never caught on.

    I may like wine in my sauce, but, I don’t like listening to it.

  5. Belle says:

    My father was a smart man whose formal education ended after the 10th grade. I believe that in the world at large, he lacked a certain confidence, but in his own home, he relied on a somewhat rough tongue and blunt New Jersey idiom to command respect from his three kids. (I never heard him say the least unkind word to my mother.)

    If he told me to run upstairs and bring down his slippers or his tobacco makings, he’d usually add, “Why keep a dog an’ do the barkin’ yourself?”
    (Somehow that one never bothered me. I knew he worked hard to keep three kids in milk and pancakes, not to mention dimes for the Saturday movie; it just seemed fair that I should fetch for him.)

    Other favorites of his seemed less acceptable:
    “Shaddup or I’ll give ya somethin’ to cry ABOUT!” (Oh yes, that was one of his favorites.)
    “Who told ya THAT?” If I offered an opinion contrary to his, he had many retorts, including, “Don’t believe everything ya read in a BOOK!” or simply,
    “Ya THINK so, do ya?” If I cited a teacher or a writer as support for a certain view, he’d scoff, “How’s HE know?” or “Him? He’s fulla Shinola!”
    Or he ask, “You believe everythin’ you hear, do ya?”

    Unfortunately, I can’t find ways to soften two of his most colorful and vivid expressions for publication. I will acknowledge, however, that the man left me a legacy: more than once during my own education, even in college, I was severely taken to task for questioning a teacher’s authority or position on a topic. I wonder if my problem was heredity or environment?

  6. jenneology says:

    I’m going to have to learn this one. Its highly applicable in our house lately, especially the part about not wearing shoes outside…

    I too make up silly songs like this. One of them is “Clothing Time” to the tune of “Closing Time.” Its especially helpful in getting toddlers dressed.

  7. Ana says:

    Oh my, that’s my new favorite song.

    The phrase we always use, in jest though, is “That’s what you get for doing your own thinking.” Used by my dad when someone said something like, “I thought it would be okay to play before chores,” or something similarly silly.

    He also used to say things like, “Some people might say Huey Lewis and the News is just a bunch of white guys trying to play the blues.” He wasn’t very patient with poor taste. Now I say things like, “Some people close the bathroom door if they don’t want their brothers to watch them pee.” You know, Some People.

  8. Ana says:

    Oh my, that’s my new favorite song.

    The phrase we always use, in jest though, is “That’s what you get for doing your own thinking.” Used by my dad when someone said something like, “I thought it would be okay to play before chores,” or something similarly silly.

    He also used to say things like, “Some people might say Huey Lewis and the News is just a bunch of white guys trying to play the blues.” He wasn’t very patient with poor taste. Now I say things like, “Some people close the bathroom door if they don’t want their brothers to watch them pee.” You know, Some People.

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