My phone rang at 3:48 a.m. this morning. It was one of my daughters. I knew this because when I grabbed the phone in a mama panic the screen said Doll. I have ‘mama love’ nicknames for each of my four daughters. Doll is Bethie Doll, my eldest daughter.
The phone ringtone blared out Mick Jagger singing, “you can’t always get what you want …” Now under normal circumstances I am a rolling Stones fan ... one of my all-time favorite fantasies is to sell everything I own to try to buy a ticket to an outdoor Stones concert and dance all night until personnel have to escort me to the gate.
But at 3:48 a.m., Mick Jagger is my worst enemy. I hated Mick Jagger at that moment, because as every mama knows when your child calls you at that ungodly hour it is never good. It means a catastrophic emergency of the worst kind has occurred. The worst emergency a mama can dream up. I know this in the split second it takes me to answer the phone.
She’s calling to tell me that my grandchild is in an ambulance with a previously unknown deadly illness caused from teething.
She’s calling to tell me her sister’s parachute didn’t open when she went skydiving, (Lord, why do they skydive?? Please Dear Lord, help me, two of my daughters skydive ... are the TRYING to kill me??)
She’s calling to tell me the police are at her house because a crazy criminal has attempted a break-in.
Why do I know this 3:48 a.m. call brings catastrophe? Because I am a seasoned mama, that’s why. I have been through every crisis known to man ... welcome to mama’s world!
In that split second as I am grabbing the phone I push the panic that is rising in my chest down and mentally prepare myself.
I am mama. I must be a pillar of unbreakable strength for my child. I must impart emotional strength to my child. I must say the correct things to calm her hysteria. As tough as this mama job is, I enjoy the role. I am proud to say that with mama nerves of steel and a soft and gentle heart I have steered my daughters through many of life’s traumas, big and small. Not only have they survived, they have triumphed. Yep ... welcome to mama’s world.
With steely resove and bated breath I answer the phone. I do not waste precious time with Hellos, ‘what’s wrong?’
Let’s get this thing going, I have to save my child’s life by daylight.
“Nothing mama,” I hear. I allow my held breath to escape my lungs. Relief floods over me as I wait for the 3:48 a.m. explanation as to why in God’s creation is she calling me then, and why does she sound so happy and perky? (My children are like myself, sort of like a puppy with endless, boundless energy and hyperactive joy for life).
“I just needed to know if I put the money in the ATM or the night deposit box at your bank.”
I bite my tongue and again reach down deep into my bag of mama tricks, which means I must stay calm and appreciative. I try never to hurt my daughter’s feelings ... I had given her money to deposit for me.
“The night deposit will be fine, what are you doing up so early?” It seems she had an early appointment in Chattanooga and you can always call mama at any time of the day or night. It’s an open door policy that I have fostered and encouraged ... and people wonder why my nerves are bad!
Welcome to mama’s world!
I decided I would never in a million years go back to sleep, so I wrote this column. It’s called therapy, baby.
To all of you long-suffering, loving and devoted mamas tryin’ to survive each day’s crises, I hope you have a good day and if you’re not faint, a literary day!