Having a typical cup of coffee had to be reinvented for my mama and I, but her Southern advice is still painfully the same!
“You just have to let it go like water on a ducks back.”Mama
If I wanted to talk to my mama now, I would have to call her. But before I moved out of state, I would go see my mama. She would either have sweet tea or a pot of coffee ready to drink along with a ‘plate of food’ to eat. Our conversations would start with laughter, but always ended with her giving (not offering) some sort of unwanted advice.
And she never failed at delivering!
One morning while I was visiting her I was explaining how upset I got by what someone had said a few days prior. This person and I were discussing the differences in our upbringing. She was from the North and an only child. She doesn’t like sweet tea, used words like ‘pop’, and wasn’t really close with their aunts/uncles/cousins. The idea was never really pushed on her to have that type of relationship with them.
That blew my mind!
I have both a sister and a brother, and I literally have over 25 immediate aunts and uncles. Most of them I have spent summers with and saw them frequently. We have family reunions once a year on my mama’s side. And what is pop? It’s called coke all day long. And sweet tea is a must in the South. If you don’t like it, something is wrong with you as a person according to ‘Southern logic’ 😊.
I was enjoying the conversation comparing and contrasting, and laughing about our differences until she said- “I guess it’s true about you guys being slow. It’s taking us 30-minutes to have a 10-minute conversation”- came out.
Say what again?!
Now, before I continue I think it’s important to note that I am half Native American and Puerto Rican. My mother is Lumbee from NC and my father is from Puerto Rico. I’m also an Army brat. So when she made that comment, I instantly felt my Lumbee-Rican blood BOIL. As I’m telling my mama this story and what happened next…
My mama laughed, hard!
Everything just stopped and all I could do is stare at this woman. What is happening right now? Is she laughing?
” Mama! What’s so funny?! “
” Nothin’. Keep going “- now she’s just smiling.
” Mama, It’s not funny. Did you hear what I said she said? “
” Yep. ” She starts laughing again.” She’s got a point though. “
My mouth dropped. All I could think was ‘of course my mama would not only laugh, but agree with what was said.’ I started shaking my head because, at this point, I don’t even want to finish the story. I’m upset! So I walked to the kitchen to put my cup of coffee in the sink, grabbed a glass of sweet tea instead, and sat back down on the sofa. It definitely turned into a sweet tea kind-of-conversation.
” Now Metia. ” (Mee-tah) is a nickname my mama calls me.
” No mama. You didn’t even let me finish my story. How are you going to laugh and then say ‘she has a point’? “
” I know. I’m sorry. Finish your story .”
” I don’t want to now! ” At this point, I was feeling like a whiny teenager who didn’t get her way, but my mama was letting me play the part so I kept it up.
” I can’t believe you said that. She was in the wrong and she took it to the next level. She didn’t even smile or laugh after she said that, so I know she was serious. All we were talking about was the differences in upbringing and the North vs the South. Then she had to say what she said! “
At this point my mama is sitting all the way back in her chair with her long legs crossed over each other, tapping her coffee cup with her fingernails, staring at me patiently listening.
I stopped talking.
You see, at 35 yrs. old I’ve recognized that body language and that silence. We’ve had many conversations similar to this one for as long as I could remember. Sometimes it follows with the conversation being agreeable on both sides, sometimes with it turning intense, and one time with me just leaving her house-ok, maybe a couple of times with me leaving. So I waited in the awkward silence
” You done? “
” Yeah-Yes ma’am.”
” You feel better now? “
” I feel better. ”
” Can I talk now? “- This women is relentless. Playing that guilt card like a pro.
” Yes ma’am. “
” All I said is that she had a point. I didn’t say she was right. You sitting over there a huffin’ and a puffin’, getting yourself more worked up over nothin’. Sometimes Metia, you just have to let things go like water on a ducks back. “
You see, I knew what my mama meant. I have grown up on ‘Southern logic’. It’s advice that isn’t over-explained, isn’t overly complicated, and a lot of the time not direct. It can leave you pondering and asking yourself, come again?
My mama is full of advice like that. The thing about advice like that though; It always makes sense at the end and 9/10 times it’s exactly what you needed to hear. You just didn’t realize it yet. Oh, and you won’t forget it either!
” Just let it go and keep on going. You ever considered that she didn’t realize what she was sayin’? That for her a 30-minute conversation could have been a waste of time since you guys were at work compared to a 10 minute one? “
” No, I didn’t think of it like that. “
” Well, it ain’t her fault darlin’. Sounds like she just doesn’t know how to have a decent conversation. You know, with her being by herself her whole life. Ain’t her fault she’s a boring person, ” Than my mama proceeds to take a sip of her coffee.
And just like that, my mama had me laughing so hard that I forgot I was ever upset in the first place! After that, we both laughed and kept on going to the next topic of conversation. It’s never a dull moment with that woman. When you think you know what is about to be said or happen next, she turns the table on you.
I miss visiting with my mama whenever I wanted to, but I am so thankful for technology. She’s never a phone call or video chat away. I got to say that I may miss her Southern logic as well.
Leave a comment and tell me what advice did your parents give you?