Once upon a time, in a galaxy several counties over, there was a sassy mouthed little girl who didn’t like taking no for an answer.
And any time her mama told her she couldn’t do something, she immediately demanded to know why.
“Because,” was often the reply.
“That’s not a reason,” the child responded. “You can’t just say because.”
“Yes, I can,” the mama said.
“No, you can’t.”
“Yes, I can,” she said, this time quite firmly.
“No,” the child insisted. “You can’t. Because is not a good explanation.”
The mama, weary from her child’s questions, knitted her brows and said, “Because, I am the mama, and I said so. How’s that for an explanation?”
The child sucked her lower lip in for a moment, not liking the tone nor the logic. “I still don’t like it.”
The child that lived to tell this story was none other than yours truly and that mama was mine.
And throughout my life, any time I asked her to explain why she was being so ridiculously overbearing, so stringent, and so unrelenting, her reasoning was: Because.
If I pressed for a better explanation, I was told: Because I am the mama and I said so.
Needless to say, I did not like this, not at all.
It was the veto of all vetoes. I could not argue with her stance. It was the ultimate power play and she knew it.
“I will tell Granny!” I cried one day at her injustice.
Mama laughed. “Go right ahead. She knows what a mama says is gospel! Who do you think I learned it from?”
Being a mama apparently gave you some super-authority. It superseded anything else, possibly even the law.
Once when I tried informing the crazy redhead that I had rights and I was pretty sure she was violating them, particularly my pursuit of happiness, she told me she was my governing entity.
“You don’t have any constitutional rights until I tell you you do.”
“How are you so sure about that?” I asked, sticking my chin out defiantly.
“Because,” she began. “I am your mother and I said so.”
That because again.
I couldn’t get away from it.
This was Mama’s go-to, her one-size excuse fits all. When I became an omnipotent and apparently brave teenager, I told her it was lame and weak, because she had no solid ground whatsoever and only used that Mama card when she knew she was failing at finding a solid reason.
She looked at me over the haze of her Virginia Slim 120 and said, “Doesn’t matter, Kitten. That’s still the answer.”
I think hearing that phrase so frequently is what made me start sighing so much.
I soon learned to anticipate the word any time I asked something.
“Can I go __” insert any place that was outside of the city limits with one of my friends and the answer was no.
“Why can’t I?”
Anytime I asked to go somewhere and was denied – because.
Anytime I wanted something and was told no – because.
Every ding-dang time she wanted to just say no and not explain – because.
That word basically meant she was being unreasonably unfair, unyielding, and didn’t give a rat’s skinny tail if it made me happy. She was doing her job – being my mama – and me getting my way was not part of her job description.
If anything, it seemed like her sole life purpose was to do the opposite of making me happy.
I argued. I debated.
Because stood on its own.
“One day, you will understand,” Mama said.
“I doubt it,” I muttered.
I swore fervently I would never be an unfair parent and would always give a decent explanation for my decisions.
When I became a mama, I would listen to my child’s reasonings and let them have a voice.
And for the most part, I have.
At least, I think I have anyway.
Until I realized, I have kind of used that old trusty Mama card myself.
He asked me the other night if he could do something.
I said no.
“But why?” he wanted to know.
I didn’t respond.
“I would like an answer,” he said.
“I gave you an answer. I said no,” I said.
“That is not a legitimate answer. You need to give me a legit, for real answer.”
I am the mama. And I said so.