The Mother’s Prayer for Her Son [apologies to Tina Fey]

I’ve just seen Tina Fey’s ‘Mother’s Prayer for her Daughter’ again, which I first read in her hugely enjoyable Bossypants memoir, but it’s also done the rounds as a separate item in the media in recent months – including today via a tweet from the ever-lovely Letters of Note.

It got me thinking there needs to be a boy version, as that’s what occupies my mind. This is my first draft, copying shamelessly from Ms Fey’s style and content, with some original bits left in alongside some subtle (and not so subtle) changes. It may just have to do:

The Mother’s Prayer for Her Son

[With apologies (and grovelling adulation) to Tina Fey]

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Celtic symbols for who-knows-what or the Southern Cross constellation stain his tender biceps.

May he be Handsome but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the needy bimbo’s eye, not the Fine Features of his Father.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, may he remember the parents who picked peas out of dinners. And stick with whatever is Legal, in Moderate Amounts.

Guide him, protect him
When he gets behind the wheel, is a passenger in a car, jumps off things into water, swims with sharks knowingly or otherwise, handles power tools, cycles for fun and recreation, curses under his breath at the big idiot who hears him, downloads one more bloody dub step mp3, sees the woman of his dreams, sees the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with, and spends more than two hours in any bar ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead him away from Writing but not all the way to Finance.

Something where he can make his own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes. And not have to wear high heels.

What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Life coaching? Dentist? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May he play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of his Own Heart with the sinewy strength of his Own Arms, so he need not be teased by other Wannabe Drummers who don’t get to lie with Whoever They Damn Well Please cos they’re Hot.

Grant him a rough patch from 11 to 19, or thereabouts. Let him see dogs in clouds and be interested in learning magic for much too long,
For Childhood is short – a Lion Flower blooming burnt orange for one day –
And Adulthood is long and “I’m in my room, leave me alone” will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever,
That he may be spared the misspelled invective of his peers
And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when he one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of someone who matters,
Give me the strength, Lord, to yank him directly into a car in front of his friends,
For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should he choose to be a Father one day, be my eyes, Lord, That I may see him, putting the kettle on at 4.50am, all-at-once exhausted and in love with the woman collapsed in bed next to his now-sleeping baby, who he has watched helplessly in awe for three hours trying to settle this new little life, knowing all he can do is … not much but be there. Being there matters a Lot, Lord, and let him Know It.

“My mother did this for me once,” he will realise as he gently moves the tiny sleeping form from the bed to the bassinet, and pulls the covers up over his beautiful, snoring wife. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over him as it does each generation and he will make a Mental Note to call me. And he will forget.
But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.



(And if you have daughters, or just want to see how unoriginal I’ve been, why don’t you read Tina Fey’s original and you’ll see why I was inspired 🙂 )

50 shades of Mills & Boon

Rather disconcertingly, the boys bought me a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey in England. Mr JB, of course, put them up to it, suggesting Mum might like to read a book during the relaxing break in Phuket. How considerate of him.

Brownie asked me what it was about. I said I wasn’t sure, but that I think it’s about a man and a woman who don’t like each other, but secretly they do, and it’s probably very silly.

Three chapters in, and that’s a pretty good review. Problem is, I’ll never know if it’s anything more than that because I just can’t read any further. I’d had enough by the end of chapter two, but forced myself to read five more pages just in case. Just in case what, I’m not sure – perhaps more story and structure, I guess.

Rewind a number of years, to when I took a freelance writing unit as part of my degree, and as part of our cursory glance over money-making writing ventures, the ‘romance’ genre was right up there. We were told not to titter and be high-falutin’ about writing, but to observe the strict style and conventions, and if we had the desire it could be a good option to pursue.

As part of my research *ahem* I went to Kmart (that’s where you get them) and, looking confident and not at all embarrassed, I started perusing the Mills & Boon shelves. What an awakening! I had no idea there were so many categories: Blaze, Blush, Desire, Historical, Intrigue, Medical, Nocturne, and the list goes on.

I decided to stay away from Medical and Historical, because doctors and nurses and heaving bosoms were never my thing, and thought I’d buy a couple of the more, um, contemporary categories. Well! They were a bit racy. So I read a couple more just to check for consistency. They were consistent all right.

And then I got caught up with other things, and my M&B were tucked away into the Writing box where they remain to this day. But lesson learnt: writing romance novels is not to be sneezed at, whether into a delicate lacy kerchief, something all together more sheer, or just in the altogether. Respec to the authors.

Which brings me to the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. In all seriousness, this is what I thought I knew about the books; that an English (?)  housewife/home writer (whatever) had been writing stories online and getting a good following, and they sorta went viral, were a little bit saucy, a bookseller/publisher picked up on the demand, and – kaboom – massive sales and she’s set for life. Even if I’m wrong in part or all of that, good for her. It’s every writer’s dream.

What I didn’t know, and have subsequently found out, is really it’s Mills & Boon, but just bigger and longer. And now I feel robbed, because I didn’t want to read a bloody Mills & Boon on my holiday, and it was too late to get a refund when I finally sat down with it by the pool in Phuket three days ago.

And oh, if thou doth protest too much at this assessment, have a look at the top two news items from this Bookseller page.

None of this, though, appeared to be bothering the woman of a certain age, three pool lounges down from me. Mr JB noticed she was reading the same book. She seemed to be sticking at it. Good for her too. I wish I could say I’ll have what she’s having, because clearly I’m not.

= = = = =

Then there’s the Fifty Shades of Grey for Blokes doing the rounds:

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