I love my Mama. I do.
But if there is one person who can get me on the busy end of a hissie fit, it’s that woman.
I know she means well. I know she cares. And I know that me being an only child is part of why she worries about stuff like she does.
I also know one day, I will probably be that way about Cole – I am a hovering worry-wart of a mother now as it is.
But I am 40 years old. I think she can “let go” a little.
Or at least take a nerve pill.
For instance, I sometimes hate talking on the phone. I admit, as horrible as it is, that there are times I would much rather text.
There are also times I just want to be a hermit and hide and not talk or text or anything. I just want to be with Cole and have some downtime and enjoy the day.
That drives Mama nuts. Especially if I turn the phone completely off.
Two hours later, there are seven missed calls, with only a minute separating them, followed by two texts.
“Are you OK?” is the first one. The second one is more of a threat. “If you don’t answer this phone right now, I am calling the sheriff.”
One of the missed calls includes a voicemail with her ordering me to “Pick up this phone this instant! I know you hear me.”
She worries. Did I get home from the grocery store OK?
Yes, it is only 12 miles from home.
Did Cole have a good day at school? What did he learn? What did he eat for lunch? He was at the doctor last week – is he better? Did he have a fever? Did he take all of his antibiotic?
Did you get your car fixed? Did you pay that bill you told me about?
Did you see that commercial for the new dog breath freshener – I know a little Border collie who could use it. Is it safe for dogs?
Did you see the dog treats that were killing dogs – y’all don’t get those do you?
These are all the kinds of things Mama worries about. These are all the kinds of things she drives me crazy about, and needs to know and be updated on multiple times a day.
She worries. I get that. I do. Keep in mind, again, I am 40 years old.
As painful as it is to type that, I also think it is kind of ridiculous that my mama thinks I have been abducted and will be on the back of a milk carton.
“Worrying is praying for what you don’t want,” I tell her.
“It is not; I am not praying for anything bad. I just worry,” is her indignant, yet concerned, reply.
The calls and her nonstop worrying drive me crazy. I feel like she watches over me more now than when I was a child. Oh she worried when I was a child, but I lived in her house – there was more control then than there is now, when I am hours away and she can’t physically see that all I am doing is sitting in the living room, watching a rerun of “The Cosby Show.”
In between worrying, she’s telling me what I need to do.
Again, 40 here.
“Cole, I give you permission to put me in an old people home if I act like this when you are grown,” I tell my son.
“Nennies just worries, Mama,” he says, giving me a squeeze. He’s a far more empathetic soul than I am.
“She needs a serotonin uptake inhibitor,” I mutter to myself.
Cole just doesn’t know how once, when married to my ex-husband, he had gone out of town.
I had gone to dinner with some friends and then to the bookstore at the mall. It was maybe 11:15 p.m. when I got home.
The carport light was on, indicating someone had been at the house.
A burglar? No. A sheriff’s deputy, who had been sent out there thanks to Mama calling them, thinking I had been the victim of some random crime. There were 40 missed calls on my phone, with three messages, as this was long before cell phones were the norm.
The first one was Mama saying I needed to call her right now. Kind of hard to do, seeing as I wasn’t home.
The second was Granny telling me Mama was going extra crazy and had already chain- smoked three packs of cigarettes and was on her way to buy more.
“Call your mother; I can’t breathe.”
The final message was a dispatch officer I knew from 911, since I worked for the public defender’s office at the time.
“Sudie, your Mama is about to put out an APB on your tail if you don’t call her. We’re sending someone over there to make sure you are OK because we don’t want your mama calling us back. Call her.”
It took months to live that down.
“She’s nuts,” I will say to Lamar. He doesn’t say a word, knowing there’s potential for me to carry the crazy-gene.
I vow to limit the amount of time I talk to her on the phone. But as soon as I pick Cole up, she’s calling.
“Do you have Cole?” she wants to know.
“Yes,” I say with a sigh.
Questions follow – a mountain of worried, concerned questions.
“Mama, I gotta go,” I say, standing at the register in the convenience store, getting ready to pay for a sports drink and a bag of popcorn. I hang up with an exasperated sigh.
“Your mother?” the cashier asks.
“She’s getting on my nerves,” I say more to myself than the woman.
The lady nods, understanding my plight.
“Calling you all the time, wanting to know what you’re doing, getting all up in your business, even though you’re grown.”
“Yes,” I respond.
“Exactly. It’s ridiculous.”
The lady handed me my change.
“I hear ya. My Mama did the exact same thing,” she said. “You enjoy that while you’ve got it,” she smiled at me, faintly.
“What I wouldn’t give to have her driving me crazy again.”
She’s right. One day, I will miss it too.