“If he’s a momma’s boy…let him go be wit’ his momma then.”
“If he doesn’t treat his mother right…he ain’t gon’ treat you right.”
“A man is always lookin’ for a woman to replace his mother…don’t let him get comfy on your titty.”
I have read or heard variations of these sentiments more times than I can count. But I’ve yet to comprehend the logic or meaning behind them. And no, this isn’t about nonsensical or contradictory cliches…though it very well could be [makes mental note]. I don’t know what a momma’s boy is exactly, but I’m even less certain on when, why and how the term became pejorative. What I do know is that I LOVE my mother dearly, treat her kindly and that there are some women I’ve been involved with who would say they got the short end of the cliche. But I am most assuredly not looking for my mother’s replacement. Or maybe I am…but absolutely not in the Freudian sense. Maybe that makes me the exception, and if so, you know it wouldn’t be the first time.
As much as I scoff at the pomp and circumstance of antiquated dating rituals, you owe it to your mom (or maternal figure) to sweep her off of her feet a few times a year at least. If nothing else it’ll keep her young and break-up the monotony of mid-life. But my mother’s feet are firmly planted in concrete–maybe even quicksand. She’s not impressed by white table cloths, nor does she swoon over the greasy spoons and her understated lifestyle makes shopping or pampering almost obsolete. The reigning Queen of both indecision and pickiness, a date with my mother is like–well, it’s like going through an inactive minefield–that no one told you was inactive. It’s a test within a test and your answers aren’t being scored, your attitude is. Just convincing her to get dressed to leave at an appointed time was a medal-worthy tour of duty (though I’m sure it was more due to the hunger pangs than to my urging).
Freudian theory cannot account for what I LOVE about my momma–and honestly, I can’t always accurately account for it. She can effortlessly torture with her idiosyncrasies. My mother will, in the same calendar day, talk at me while I’m on the phone, yell my name unnecessarily loud when simply speaking it will do, forget what/when/how much she “borrowed” (or even the actual meaning of the word borrow), always–and I mean always–make terribly inconvenient or near-impossible last minute requests and nag her way to its completion as if it were an Olympic sport.
But somehow, amidst all of this, she’ll manage to say somethin’ out of the blue like, “Do you remember (how old you were) when you told me that you were going to have a one son, that he was going to look just like you and that you would name him after you?” Yes, I do Ma. I was about 14 (scary considering my son is now 12). Which means you–who can’t remember how to check messages on your phone after being shown a few hundred times–still remember verbatim a three minute conversation I had with you two decades ago. And somehow you knew just when I needed to be reminded of it.
Her phone rings incessantly because she’s so heavily relied upon. I’ve watched her borrow to help others, never shrugging someones need. She’s a professional “be there” to which I’ve aspired. Much more thoughtful than she is forgetful, my mother is is the source of all my resourcefulness. And she might be the one person who believes in me without knowing what to believe.
Now how ‘n the hell will I ever “replace” that Dr. Freud!?
Dedicated to my mother (Maxine) and brother (Isaac)