Nothing Good Happens After Midnight and Other Lessons From My Youth


“…And you know what he said? He said, ‘It’s good to want, Tracy.’”

I chuckled to myself at the memory.

My daughter was less than impressed.  “I know, Mom. You’ve already told me this story…”

Had I? I couldn’t remember. But it’s true I’m often recounting tales from my childhood with my own children.  I do so as an example.

My parents were very wise people.

My father was a man of quotes. I don’t know if he made them up or heard them elsewhere but he had a slew of them up his sleeve. He repeated them so often that they’ve been ingrained in my memory.

When I complained that things weren’t fair, he’d say, “Tracy, the fair is where you go to see the horses and the pigs.”

When I whined about life in general, I’d hear, “In each one’s life, a little rain must fall.”

When I wanted something he considered unnecessary, he’d inevitably say, “It’s good to want.”   End of story.

My father gave me wise words designed to teach.

In my teen years, I often begged to stay out later, and he’d say, “Tracy, nothing good happens after midnight.”   I later learned in college that this was pretty much true.

When I got old enough to have a say in my curfew, he’d (jokingly) tell me, “Don’t call me if you go to jail.”

You know what? I did go to jail. It was a minor infraction, a cops teaching teens a lesson kind of thing. And though I hesitated for a minute, I did call my father (who else was I going to call?).  And yes, he came to get me.

My father may have been disappointed in my behavior, but he was there for me. He helped me through the situation.

My father showed me love through his actions.  

My mother had a few sayings of her own. Her words helped me in times of great duress.

When life got difficult and I wasn’t sure how to get through a situation, my mother would tell me, “The only way out is through.”

When I felt like giving up, when things looked hopeless, my mother would remind me, “This too shall pass.”

When I struggled to take a risk, my mom, who knew I tend to doubt myself,  would always say, “I think you should do it.”

My mother believed in me and gave me hope.

Now, everything is different.

My mom is gone, I’ve been without her for almost two years.

My dad is in assisted living, his memory not what it once was.

My words of wisdom and encouragement now come from a different place.    

When I need words for how to live, I go to the Bible.

When I need direction, I pray.

When I need to hold on to hope, I focus on scriptures.

And you know what?

Just like my parents, God gives me wise words designed to teach.

Just like my parents, God shows me love and grace.

Just like my parents, God believes in me and gives me hope.

When life doesn’t feel fair, when things don’t go the way I want, when the only way out is through, I now turn to my heavenly Father. 

I want nothing more than to lean on him, rely on him.

I want the peace that surpasses all understanding. 

Sometimes it’s hard to hold on to my faith.  And I admit, I fail, over and over again. Worry usurps trust. 

I want so badly to get better at this. And so, I will keep trying.

He may have meant something completely different, but my dad had it right: It’s good to want.





About thewritertracy

Writer, Mom, Lover of books, travel, family, friends and fun.
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10 Responses to Nothing Good Happens After Midnight and Other Lessons From My Youth

  1. Joyce Welbaum says:

    You folks were great parents, even when you didn’t think so! It is good to remember the things they said and the lessons you learned. Did you know your mom’s favorite poem was Invictus? It said so much about her spirit- never give up! Love you.

    • I did not know that was her favorite poem-thanks for sharing! I am going to print a copy of it for my desk. She never gave up, she was definitely a fighter. Love you too Aunt Joyce!

  2. Brenda Zabriskie says:

    I miss your Mom a great deal. She was always encouraging me to continue school, look outside the box for answers and of course never give up. Your Dad has a quiet strength I have always admired and quite a sense of humor. One of my favorite times back in Indiana was staying with them at the lake house. Sitting outside drinking coffee and talking about life, great times!

    • Brenda, We all had some great times on that porch at their lake house, so many good memories there. I miss my mom too, miss talking to her on the phone, just about life and what is going on. I am very blessed by my parents!

  3. Donald Handy says:

    I don’t comment often but I just want you to know that I always enjoy reading your articles. You have a great way with words. Wish we could see you more.

    • Thank you for your kind words Uncle Don! I wish we could see you more too. I am glad we can keep in touch somewhat via FB and the Internet! Miss you guys and hope you all are doing well!

  4. We never forget the lessons from our parents, no matter how old we get. I’m working on a piece about my sayings from my parents, too! One day at a time…

  5. Sabra Penley says:

    Love this, Tracy! Our parents words do stay with us, don’t they? So many of your parents’ words I heard from my own. But there were a couple I hadn’t heard before. Makes me wonder what my kids remember that I said. But, then, I hope they remember God’s words over my own. His Word is definitely our hope and guide. Thanks for sharing and encouraging me today.

    • Oh Sabra, you think I would have but I’ve not thought about what words my kids will remember from me! Hmmm…that could go several ways. LOL 😉 I agree, I hope they remember God’s words over mine. Thanks for your comment!

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