As I've grown older, several truths have grown more apparent.
One, don't put overconfidence in a pair of control top panty hose.
Don't believe what someone tells you, and be hesitant to believe what you see.
But the most important one is that no one loves you like your mama.
Mama was probably the original helicopter mom, hovering over me in her overprotective way.
I had back surgery when I was 12 years old to correct a severe curvature in my spine. I was nervous, as any kid would be, mainly because I wasn't sure what to expect. And it seemed like a pretty big deal - the surgery would take at least eight hours and the hospital stay was projected at three weeks - but to my 12-year-old self, I was mainly worried about my cat.
Mama may have been scared, but she never told me.
Those words never left her lips. If anything, when I would get scared and ask if I would be OK, she comforted me and told me I'd be just fine.
In the hospital, the night before the surgery, I looked over and realized Mama was sitting there in the dark, just watching me, quietly.
I think she was praying.
"I don't want to die - I am scared."
Mama was quiet for a moment, maybe to not let her own fear come across.
"You will be just fine, I know it. You've got the best surgeon and I know God will bring you through this."
I went to sleep and the next morning, had the surgery.
Over the next few days, Mama never left my side.
Well, with the exception of going up to the roof of Georgia Baptist to a spot she found to smoke.
I would open my eyes and there she was, standing over me, stroking my hair and checking on me.
"Mama," I began, my voice hoarse.
"Yes?" she leaned in to hear me better.
"Quit hovering over me."
This would become an ongoing theme between us from then until now.
"You're hovering," I will caution.
"No, I'm not," she will counter.
"Yes, you are."
"OK...maybe I am a little. I want to make sure you are OK."
When I was in my 20s and even my 30s, this was annoying.
Now, I get it.
I worry, I try to protect my only child from all the dangers that life can throw at him, and I hover.
I hover so well I should be some kind of stealth military helicopter.
I can tell by my child's very countenance a myriad of emotions: If he is upset, disappointed, worried, sad, hurt.
And I go into hover mode to do what I can to bring him out of it and to make it better.
He's 11, so it's not too terribly annoying right now.
I just want to make sure he is safe, and happy, and knows he's loved.
Something that no matter how old he gets, I will want for him.
Just as I am 43 and my Mama is still hovering.
I made the mistake of telling her the other day how bad I was feeling because of my allergies.
She was immediately worried and told me to go to the doctor.
I told her I'd be fine and it was nothing a good rain and a couple of Benadryl couldn't fix.
She wasn't sure.
"Do you want me to come up there to take care of you?"
I assured her I was good.
She didn't believe me, naturally, and her morning texts continually asked if I was better.
"I just worry about you..."she said forlornly, her voice trailing off.
I know she does.
For a mama, worry is just another way to love.
My husband may take care of me, make me tea, or draw me a hot bath but Mama is the one who will worry when things are serious.
And when things are serious, she will move heaven and earth to make things better.
She will tell you she's coming to stay with you for a week, to give you the chance to catch your breath.
She will call you a dozen times a day to make sure you are OK when she can't come take care of you and doesn't understand why you think she is over-reacting.
She means well, really, she does. She just wants her baby, her Kitten, to be safe.
Because no one, no one, loves you like your mama.