Initially, I went into “Monster Mommy Mode”. “Who is this woman? And what kind of liquor is she drinking? Nobody messes…no, NOBODY TOUCHES MY CHILDREN!” All of these thoughts were running freely in my head, and I’m positive they showed on my face as well. I had never seen this lady before in my life! Who is she?! I think all mothers have a defense zone with a primary duty to protect our children, and anything that goes against that, well.. obviously creates a MAJOR PROBLEM!
But I sat still and I wondered, but isn’t that what we all need? A support system? Nurturing hands? Wisdom? I couldn’t confront this woman, and felt awful that she saw the face I made. A few minutes passed. I went to the restroom, and on the way back, she stopped me. “I’m sorry, for making you mad, all I told him was to sit back like a big boy and be verrrryyy quiet”. Conviction swallowed me whole. I felt AWFUL! The fact that my face…even my behavior, would force an elder to apologize to me, for doing just what elders should do made me cringe. I told her “With all due respect, I am sorry. I realize that this is what’s wrong with my generation now, we have no respect. We have no fear of the elders. But we need you and I thank you for being just what you are”. The tears welled up in her eyes, and she gave me a smile that let me know my apology was accepted.
I walked back to my seat so curious. Puzzled, I wondered, where were all the Big Mamas? There used to be a time, where Big Mamas were everywhere! The grandmothers.. clothed in wisdom, scented like buttermilk and equipped with fly swatters and switches. Where were the Big Mamas that were ready to kill your parents when they found out you hadn’t eaten…or the Big Mamas that would whoop you quick, but would never tell your parents you misbehaved. Where are they? Where are the Big Mamas who kept the children for the summer and never expected anything in return..the Big Mamas who heard random babies crying and could never resist the urge to pull out a piece of peppermint or the penny candy to quiet down “that sweet lil angel”? You could hear her voice from anywhere, once she heard one of her grandbabies cry, “WHAT’S WRONG WITH HIM!!!??”. And she would quickly let your parents know that she wasn’t impressed with them either. “Hold that baby head up”, “Don’t lay him on his stomach!”, and she would save you from a whooping, every chance she got. Where is she? With opened arms and opened hearts to every child she would see… the Big Mamas that got angry with the people on tv, for running RIGHT INTO THE KILLER, “Go the other way fool!”. Where are they now? Are they all partying? Back in college? Somewhere trying to get their groove back? Too busy working? Or have we ruined their legacy by having babies so young? Have we pushed them away because ‘we know it all anyway’? Where are the Big Mamas? Sitting on the porch, waving at every car that drove by…sipping on her sweet tea or even sugar water. She was so content being Big Mama. Where on Earth did she go? Doesn’t she know we need her? Doesn’t she know how valuable she is to our culture? Or children? Our memories? Where is Big Mama?