By Delilah McMasters
Darla’s mama tried. Yes, Darla is my sister, and yes, we have the same mother, but ownership of a mother goes to her “baby.” It’s the law. Don’t question me on this, it has nothing to do with being bitter or neglected or petty, it’s just the law.
You have kids, one becomes brattier and gets away with more. Has a dimple. Wore their shorts to school when it was 38 degrees with rubber boots and you let them get away with it because they are the baby.
But you have to admit at some point or another, yes, it was my baby who rolled her eyes when the preacher was talking to them. Consequently, their mothers let them get away with things when they were growing up and mother becomes their property. See? It’s the law.
Now that’s not saying Darla’s mama didn’t try, she did.
When the teacher said Darla wasn’t applying herself, it was determined the teacher didn’t understand how smart Darla really was. When Darla insisted on a certain outfit from Montgomery Wards - even though Mother explained it was not a practical decision to feed chickens or play in the yard in - Darla responded, “We ain’t poor, we have a washing machine!” Those two moments define a lot in Darla and her mama’s relationship. Mother will still tell you Darla is smarter than most people and Darla still wears whatever she damn well pleases, especially if it’s shopping in my closet for free.
Over the years I’ve received phone calls from Darla’s mama, tattling or aghast at some bit of information Darla has relayed to her on purpose to make her head spin. “Have you heard from your sister?” Or “Do you know what Darla Marie did?”, which can convey a world of shocked surprise or an overabundance of gushing love. And when my call is finally connected to Darla Marie and the topic brought up about what her mama has called me about, her response is either eye-rolling nonchalant annoyance or gleeful laughter. It’s like being a witness to an ongoing soap opera.
They are two peas in a pod, hard-headed and silent when they get pissy. That is, until Mother thinks someone has done her baby wrong. Then there will be hell to pay. Mother will cuss a blue streak and threaten to cut a man or woman over her Darla Marie. No one is allowed to talk trash about her baby, but her. All 5-feet of her will get in someone’s face while her baby stands behind her telling her every ugly thing said and urging her on. It’s definitely not something you want to be on the receiving end of.
At the moment, Mother and her baby are at an impasse and I’m not even sure if they remember the details of their silence this time, but I’m sure it’s legitimate. Yet, I know, if Darla needs backup, she knows Mother is going to be in her corner. And I know Mother is silently stalking her baby’s Facebook page making sure no one is doing her baby wrong.
It’s their love language. It’s why Darla will always be Mother’s baby. And I’m good with that, because that’s just the way it’s supposed to be in our world.
Delilah McMasters is a local resident and the mother of six. Reach her at BlessYourHeart76065@gmail.com.
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