It was never said with a “sweetheart” at the end of it and it sure wasn’t said with a smile. My mother always taught me to “dry it up”. If I scraped my knee on the playground she rarely even looked at it. If I came home complaining that I was being picked on at school, her response was always the same: “dry it up”.
Now, I don’t know if that same saying is used everywhere but I know it’s used often in my family. Not only does my mother say it, my grandmother, my two aunts and yes, even my father. As a child it taught me to not go to anyone when I got hurt, to suck it up and fix it on my own. It never did any good to ask for wisdom when a girl in my class was mean to me. My mother ALWAYS expected me to deal with it myself.
There was one time last year, my freshman year, when I called my mother at 3 in the morning. Let’s say that I’m not a party girl and I’ve never called my mother after 9 p.m. Needless to say she immediately thought I was dead when she answered. When she heard my tear filled words, she told me to shut up because she couldn’t hear a dang word I was sayin’. What happened to me that it was SO urgent at 3 a.m.? Well, a loser of an ex boyfriend and a slack best friend. He had cheated on me with a girl I had called my friend since third grade. Yes, third grade (and she’s not attractive, if that matters). I told her I was packing my stuff and coming home. Like a typical southern mother, she yelled at me. She told me if I left school over a whorish girl and a loser boyfriend that I wasn’t the woman she raised me to be. I wasn’t strong and I was weak. As she hung up the phone she told me to “dry it up”. Then, she told me to make sure I put my gel sleeping eye mask on so I didn’t have puffy eyes in the morning; “After all, you’ve gotta find a new boyfriend.”
I wanted to bash her head in. I needed her to tell me I was still wonderful and amazing. But my mother knew me so well that she knew I didn’t need to be told all that. I already knew it anyways, I just needed to be told to get it together. I did just that. I got my grades up and fell in love with an amazing man whom I’m still with.
Everytime I’m about to cry I hear her saying “dry it up” and I do exactly that. What an AMAZING thing three words can do. She put so much strength into me and I’m so blessed that I have a southern mama to always put in my place!