Mama: Our first true love

Originally posted in Angel’s column at Examiner.com

“Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love.”
Stevie Wonder


Happy Mother’s Day tomorrow to all you fearless mamas out there. All over the city of Atlanta and around the country mother’s will be treated to gifts, flowers, luncheons and every Hallmark Card imaginable. While it’s a special day for mother’s near and far, let’s talk about the significance of Mother’s Day here in the South. For southerner’s this day is not just Mother’s Day, it’s a day that is about that one person in our lives, whether you are male or female, that we fell in love with before all others. She is known simply as Mama, but there is nothing simple about a southern mother.

The old saying is true “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” (told you in the last blog that I love that saying). While both sets of parents may inhabit a household, in the South it’s Mama’s house. She sets the tone for all to follow. While it may not be very politically correct, in the South, mother’s have a distinct way of raising their boys and their girls in that strong handed but ever so genteel fashion that the South is known for.

A southern mom teaches her girls to be gentle but resilient, out spoken but sweet, how to put on makeup but never too much and how to cook but know when to get a man to take you out! Clothes are to be worn to accentuate, not reveal. Mama is the one that takes you to buy your first training bra, your first prom dress and will hold your hand while you try on wedding gowns. She’ll be the first to tell you that you look beautiful and she won’t be afraid to tell you that that particular dress makes your hips look too big. She tells you this for your own good! She will cry with you when a boy breaks your heart for the first time and secretly plot his demise with her closest girlfriends. To Mama you are the most beautiful, intelligent and witty girl in the whole world, but you will never get too big that she won’t threaten to spank your butt if you aren’t acting right. My mama still tells me to behave! When you are grown and have babies of your own, she will graciously move into the role of Grandmother. She will also not let you forget that the very thing that your children are doing to drive you crazy right now is what you did to her and she’s been waiting to say, “I told you so” all these years!

Ladies, if you are single and looking for a man, you can’t do better than a southern boy. The very reason a southern man makes a good partner, has everything to do with the southern woman that raised him. Southern boys are raised from the very beginning to be polite. “Yes ma’am, no ma’am, please, thank you and may I” are all instilled with vigilance by southern mama’s. Boys are taught to hold the door for a lady and to watch their tongues in mixed company, even if the lady has a sailor’s mouth of her own. Now don’t get me wrong, southern men learn from their fathers by watching how they react to their wives. You don’t argue with Mama, she is always right, or at least she always wins if everyone in the house wants peace. Southern boys learn to pamper their mothers and compliment them. There is something unexplainable about how a southern boy looks at, loves and attends to his mother that lets you know she is his whole world. That love and attention will be transferred on to his mate later in life. Mama’s know however when the time has come to let him go and allow him to find his own way, but she will never be far from his thoughts. There is another old saying that stands true in the South “A son is a son till he gets a wife, a daughter is a daughter all her life.” While it may be hard, southern mom’s know when to bow out gracefully to her son’s new bride. Believe me, she is always there to give her advice though if that new bride isn’t doing it quite right!

Here’s to all you Sourthern Mama’s out there! We love you, we wouldn’t want to live without you and we are southern and proud of it all because of you.

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