Friday, March 18, 2011

Wonder Woman, Tiaras & Anti-Drama Llamas

When I last reported on Southern Belle Mama she was sashaying through my front door, looking spectacular after an eight-hour drive, and carrying homemade fudge. I, on the other hand, was fretting over the fact that my nails looked like I had been using them to pry open rusty paint cans, my roots were showing, the barbecued chicken in the oven was approaching jerky-status, and I forgot to wash the good napkins.

Like I told you before, Southern Belle Mama is the least critical person I have ever known, with the possible exception of Southern Belle Granny, but she is also the most together person I have ever known. And, try as I might, I have never been able to reach her level of Southern Belleness. If we actually wore tiaras, my mother’s would be perfectly perched and centered on her perfectly coiffed head, with no visible means of anchoring, and mine would be hopelessly tangled in my hair and teetering just above my left ear, despite the duct-tape running through it and under my chin. I consider myself lucky to be hanging onto the bottom rung of the Southern Belle ladder with my ragged, polish-free nails. Most likely, I have been spared banishment for the simple fact she is my mother.

Now, the words “Southern Belle” conjure up images of delicate females who get the vapors with little to no provocation, and are prone to being drama llamas. But Southern Belle Mama has always been strong, fearless and drama-free. I can easily picture her, hands on hips, facing down a grizzly bear, shooing him back into the woods, and then going casually back to putting on her lipstick, as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

So, when I checked the answering machine yesterday and heard her almost-but-not-quite tearful voice saying she really needed to talk to me, I panicked. My hand flew to my chest and, yes, I almost got the vapors. If I actually had a fainting couch, I would have been draped over it. With my heart in my throat, I called her back, convinced that something was very, very, very, very, very wrong.

One ring, two rings, three rings and she answered the phone in pretty much a normal voice.

“Mama! What’s wrong?!”

“Oh, Hon, you’ve been on my mind the last few days, and I’ve been worried about you. I really needed to hear your voice. Are you okay?”

“Well, I will be as soon as my adrenaline levels come back down. You scared the crap out of me!!!!” (Yes, I was in such a state I actually said “crap” to Southern Belle Mama.)

As my breathing slowly returned to normal, I assured her I was fine, and we talked for another half-hour or so. I won’t bore you with all the gory details, but something important came out of that conversation you might need to hear.

Being the drama-avoiding, strong women we are, we realized we don’t tell each other important things we probably should. We have a tendency to keep things that might worry the other to ourselves. In times of stress, we don’t lean on each other and seek out that emotional support. More often than not, we don’t even tell each other about distressing events until whatever it is has been resolved and the whole thing is over. We have both faced down our fair share of life’s low blows, but most of those battles have been fought standing our own two feet, with the help of God.

Being a strong woman doesn’t mean you don’t need another living, breathing, caring person to lean on, share things with, or seek advice from, especially when you’re in the heat of battle. So, we agreed to start doing that more. My mother and I have always had a great relationship, but now I am excited to get to know her better as a person and a friend.

By all means, seek guidance from God, send up your prayers, and go out and fight the good fight, but remember, my sweetnesses, reaching out to one another is not a sign of weakness. Confiding in and leaning on a friend does not make you a whiner. You are allowed to be afraid. Everyone is. You are not Wonder Woman with a Magic Tiara and bullet-deflecting accessories. And, after all, isn't loving and supporting each other our Prime Directive?

Like I used to tell my son, you have to have at least four hugs a day to keep from being weird. Consider yourself hugged. It’s up to you to go get the other three.

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