Momma Says


A young, masked boy’s school photo is as viral as viral gets.

This isn’t about a mask debate, so don’t go there. This is about “Don’t mess with momma”, a rule I grew up knowing all too well.

Mom Nicole posted the photo on her Facebook page.

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The conversation went like this:

Photographer: Ok, take your mask off.

Mason: My mom said to keep it on all the time unless I’m eating and far away from everybody.

Photographer: I’m sure it’s ok to take it off for your pictures.

Mason: No, my mom seriously told me to make sure to keep it on.

Photographer: Are you sure you don’t want to take it off for 2 seconds?

Mason: No Thank you, I always listen to my mom!

Photographer: Ok, say cheese!

The mom was shocked at how popular this posted was and offered this update.



Mason and I are overjoyed and in awe of the outpouring of love that we have received over his picture day school picture. He has read so many of your comments with the biggest smile on his face! He is so happy to see so many people proud of him and saying he did such a good job! (He is so proud!)  All of you have made my little one’s day!! He is such a good kind-hearted, caring, loving, smart, and helpful little boy. Thank you for showing him that his honesty and integrity will make a big difference in this world.

Many of you have reached out to ask how you can send money for gifts, ice cream, or Mason’s college scholarship fund so I have created this GoFundMe me account to do just that.…

Thank you again for your kind words and support showing him that following directions can make a BIG difference.” 

It made me laugh because it reminds me of a certain time I was put in a position, and not the one where I refused to say “ass” in Sunday School because that was a “bad word” and no biblical explanation or animal was going to change my mind at the risk of my mother’s own horseman of the apocalypse.  

This one is about doing the right thing when nobody is around to see it.

I was 11 years old, and I LOVED scary movies. Well, I love what I saw of scary movie trailers. I wasn’t allowed to watch most of them. I begged my mom to let me see Nightmare on Elm Street and it was always a firm “No”. They were convinced it would give me nightmares. I was too young. Go watch Annie again.

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About this time, my friend Melissa had a birthday party. She was one of the “cool” girls who lived in a big house with the fanciest parties in our circle of friends. You didn’t want to miss Melissa’s party.

We did the typical food and cake and pin the tail on the donkey. We danced and laughed and pretended we knew how to do makeup.

Then later in the evening, after the festivities but before bedtime, the girls were going downstairs to watch Halloween. As the popcorn popped, my head popped with even more thoughts.

“I’m not allowed to do that.”

“But you can’t tell Melissa that. They’ll all make fun of you.”

“But mom will spank you and you’ll be grounded.”

“But will she know?”

“You are a terrible liar. She will know. The guilt will reside on your face until you tell her.”

“Everyone else is doing it, you can get support from all the other girls.”

“You can go down but not watch.”

“Mom will still consider you guilty by association.”

“It’s wrong to do things I’m not allowed to do.”

“Then why did you feed the dog your dinner last night?” (a lesson learned after I sat in front of a pot pie for 5 meals before my mom gave up and spanked me instead for not appreciating her hard work and wasting food.)

“I can’t get in trouble.”

“She won’t know.”


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I remember the sheer anxiety of this whole mental conversation and the gut-wrenching decisions before my younger self. I honestly didn’t know what to do. It was social suicide to be a goody-two-shoes. It was a family homicide to watch it. I was dead in one respect either way. Suddenly I wanted to fake being sick so I could go home.

I acted like I had to go to the bathroom, and let’s be honest there was a 50/50 chance at this point I was going to throw up anyway. I waved at Melissa’s mom to come with me. Luckily their home was large enough I could talk without being heard by the girls with much cooler parents.

I said, “I don’t know what to do. My mom and dad don’t let me watch scary movies, but I do want to see the movie. I also don’t want to get into trouble.”

Thank goodness for moms. Melissa’s mom set all the girls up downstairs and when someone asked where I was, she said, “Jenny’s mom made it clear she can’t watch scary movies after I told her the plans for the evening. So she’s going to hang out upstairs with us.”

She made my mom the bad guy. Melissa came up to me and said, “Your mom will never know, just sneak down when my parents fall asleep.”

“That’s not the right thing to do, and I don’t want to get in trouble. Christmas is coming up”, I snarked back.

With a shrug, she walked off and forgot about me.

I sat on the couch with her parents watching the late news, all the way through the kicker. They talked to me like a person and showed no pity or made no judgments on my parents. I will always admire them for that.

The next day my dad picked me up. As the car roared out of the driveway after the obligatory “Did you thank her parents for having you over?”, he added, “Tell me what you girls did.”

I started to cry and look out the window like pre-teens are wont to do. I finally said “We played games and ate a really cool cake. They all watched a scary movie, and I was the only ONLY ONE not allowed to so I just stayed upstairs with the parents and watched the stupid news.”

He pulled the car over and looked at me with a smile on his face. He said, “Are you serious?”.

My tears answered for me.

As he put the car in drive again, he said “I am so proud of you. Let’s go to the sticker store and get you something special for being so good.”

I was an avid collector of stickers, and suddenly Michael Myers was second only to the new Strawberry Shortcake scratch and sniff.

Here’s 10-year-old Jennifer opening her birthday sticker collection to prove the point (surrounded by the ugliest wallpaper ever.)

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The next week at school I had something to show off with my enhanced sticker collection and I had the satisfaction of doing the right thing.

Of course, my mom always being SO hard to read and please, came up to me and said “You know, you wouldn’t have gotten in trouble if you had watched the movie. I know that had to be a tough decision for you.”

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Then she FINALLY let me see Nightmare on Elm Street. And I didn’t have a single nightmare.

So let me tell you Mason – I completely understand why you did what you did. Don’t mess with momma!

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