Mornings With My Mama: Cup of Coffee and Unwanted Advice

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?


Don’t Lose It, She’s Just a Mini-Version of You. An Emotional, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Version.

When your daughter ‘suddenly’ grows up and you are faced with a person you don’t recognize and barely like

One day your little girl is looking up at you with the biggest, roundest, and brownest eyes ever. She is asking you 20,000 questions about the sky, trying on all of your jewelry so she can “look like you mama”, asking about the -what if’s- of the world.

Than it happens:

Puberty.

Your little girl is now 13 and the only thing she is asking you is when dinner is ready and if she can go to a friend’s house.

What makes it all sting a little more is that your kisses no longer make things better. You singing along with her favorite song is no longer cool. Your jokes sound more like -dad jokes- than them actually being funny. If you try to help her pick out any outfit, God forbid if you do because your style is -outdated!

But how did her turning into this 13 yr old person happen so quickly? Wasn’t she just losing her first tooth or stuck to your hip while you two watched a movie together on the couch? Wasn’t she randomly crossing her arms and legs with each other as she was reading a book with Teddy by her side?

What happened to that girl? Better yet…

What person replaced her?

She looks like your daughter, but now she is eye-to-eye with you. This person smells of B.O. because they refuse to use the hundred and one bottles of deodorant you bought them. And this person argues and cries at a drop of a hat about the most minute things: a video they watched, the calm and collective way you thought you told them to do something, or if they have ‘nothing to wear’ when their closet is still half full.

Who ARE you and what have you done to my daughter?

It all happened so quickly and without warning. You literally just tucked her into bed, gave her kisses, said your prayers, and then it was as if ‘IT’ woke up in your sweet daughter’s place instead. The Mr. Hyde to your Dr. Jekyll.

Never in your life have you wanted to put someone in their place. Maybe even knock someone so badly, but you can’t. Legally you can’t because it’s your daughter and you know you still love her because she is still standing in front of you- back taking. Or trying to backtalk, but she even knows better so she is trying to backtalk without back talking you.

What kind of an emotional rollercoaster of a person did you create?

Where did you go wrong?

The other worse thing about this hand you have been dealt with is that person standing in front of you reminds you of someone. Oh, you know who! The way they cut their eye at you, or the way they say ‘huh?’ when asked the same question over and over, or the way they try to give you a hug and a -I’m sorry kiss- after an argument. Yeah, It’s you. They are a mini-version of you.

How do you win against that?!

When all seems lost with your new ‘roommate’, something out of the blue happens. It is as if the skies parted and for a moment this person does the unthinkable…they smile… on purpose because they wanted to. Then they laugh WITH you because you were funny. And when you thought that your heart was full…

She gives you a hug before going to bed.

She literally, at her own accord, came downstairs to give you a ‘just because’ hug. Then there she is, your little girl. Even for a brief moment, she emerged. Now you know with all the craziness of her growing up and you finally accepting the fact that she is growing up that you two will be ok. You two still have each other’s back and you need each other. That you two will still be close, but just in a different and better way.

Do you agree?

When the South Came to the North and Neither of Them Smiled: a mamas advice

” Well darling, just smile. You look unpleasant when you don’t.”

“Really mama? Thanks.”

“Yep! No problem.”

Mama

My mama.

That woman can give some of the most simple yet effective advice in a ‘not a care in a world’ kind of way. She truly is a Southern woman through and through and quite honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. So when I came to her to vent about me living in Upstate New York now I “ought to of known better” as she would say.

I understand that NO ONE was prepared for 2020. I mean 2020 was not prepared for 2020. But to move to Upstate New York two and half weeks prior to ‘the world ending’ now that was bad timing.

I closed the gap in a long distance relationship, packed, and moved to Syracuse, NY from Southern Pines, NC February of this year. I jokingly say that I fell for the biggest scam of it all; I fell for love. It got me! I uprooted my 13 yr old daughter and my 2 yr old dog and we went for it!!

Moving from a world you have always known is not easy within itself, despite Covid-19 going on. We were ready and prepared months in advice for the move between flying back and forth to us (my daughter and I) having in-depth conversations and weighing our options. I was ready financially, mentally, and all in between that you possibly could be.

The one thing that I did not take into consideration was… the culture.

That took me completely off guard. I came to realize that Southern hospitality truly is an essential part of the Southern culture. Duh, I know. But I did not consider that because it was always there. It is how people live, how they interact with one anther, who they are. It is who I am as a person, a woman, as a mama myself.

Now I do have to say that most people I have met so far have been really nice and thoughtful. If I had to use a word to describe the people up here, it would be…

guarded.

Back home everyone is automictically considered family. We accept you with open arms and our trust is given right off the back…until it is not than ‘God bless you’ and you are on your way.

I noticed with the people up here, they are a little more suspicious of you and a bit guarded until they get a feel for you. They’ll invite you in their circle, but they keep their eye on you. Distrust off the bat until they like you. All of this was new and to be honest it still is after 10 months of living here.

“Well darling, just smile. You look unpleasant when you don’t.”

That was it. That was the word of advice my mama had when I called. Even after I hung up the phone I kept shaking my head. Out of all the advice she could have given, that was it? Just smile? Of course I dismissed it and went on with my week.

I’ve been working on the front yard updating the plants and flowers. I didn’t see the man walking by at first. He always walks by our home on his daily walks. Sometimes I see him and sometimes I don’t. There have been times when I have seen him, I just ignore him and kept on working. In my mind I got things to do, but that day as he was passing by me he caught my eye.

That day I looked up, said hey, and then I smiled. That smiled has turned into me meeting a man who knows way too much about plants and flowers. It’s crazy his knowledge and I love it! He has been so helpful and intriguing to talk to… and I am so thankful that I smiled!

Thanks mama. That’s what I get for doubting you. ❤