Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Drama Mama

Do you know how hard it is for some of us to be "no drama" mamas? When I was coming up, women weren't supposed to think for themselves. They were supposed to have two coping strategies, terrible tantrums and illness. When one didn't work a "lady" could immediately take to one's bed.

Southern women even had "fainting couches" back in the "good old" days. Of course, these strategies were only effective at getting women out of work, and couldn't be employed well by women who had no servants. This lack of supplying servants on the husband's part could sometimes be made up for by having a passel of children and assigning all unpleasant duties to the oldest of the brood. I was not the oldest.

I had two older siblings, a brother and a sister. I also went through the first years of my life with several servants coming in and out of our lives. I was absolutely born to be a princess, but something terrible happened long about the time I turned four-years-old. We moved and my mama's rich uncle died, leaving her not a penny for servants or other household help. All the foot stomping and temper tantrums in the world couldn't bring my magic wand back into working order.

This didn't mean that I took to becoming useful. My closest little sister wanted desperately to be big, so I watched while she worked at mastering all manner of talent. I followed my big sister's lead and became ill every time things weren't going my way. I was content being left alone in La-La Land.

This worked pretty well until I became a wife and mother myself. I had absolutely no skills to take with me to that table. What was a princess to do? I had managed to learn to cook, so I took to the kitchen and never wanted to come out, except to write an occasional poem or throw a lavish party. This made me popular, but kept me in La-La Land until I hit any bumps in the road. Then my fall-back position was to fall into bed, especially if a river of tears didn't wash away my woes.

Now, here I am at almost sixty, still crying rivers of tears, but now while I work my way through, which so often does still involve party preparations. If only I could figure a fuel that didn't seem so dramatic; maybe people would be less likely to head for the hills when I start rumbling. And in a teeny tiny hamlet like Coker Creek, it's plain old unseemly for a married woman to act out in public.

Thankfully, Richard likes a lot of hot sauce, but many don't know what to do with a such a drama mama.