Last week, my daughter, upon awakening in our air conditioned home, proclaimed that she was “freezing”. Moreover, she wanted me to know that she was “the coldest person in the world”. I couldn’t help but glance at my boyfriend and roll my eyes: this girl and her drama!
He looked at me and laughed, “I wonder where she gets it.”
Um… excuse me? Just what does he mean by that? That I am dramatic? Me- the woman who’s never exaggerated or been prone to hyperbole in her entire life??? Surely he must be kidding! Otherwise, how could he say something so insensitive, so mean??!
Okay, maybe he’s not kidding. If I’m completely honest with myself, I have to admit that some of my kids’ flair for drama comes from me. I am not what most people would call mild-mannered or even-keeled. I tend to run hot and cold, rather than lukewarm. And, it seems my kids are that way, too- especially my daughter.
I think most of us tend to think of “drama” as having negative connotations. “What a dramaqueen.” I mean, even I blast Mary J. Blige’s No More Drama when I need inspiration and want to feel empowered. But, really, is drama all bad? I don’t think so.
The word drama comes from a Greek word meaning “action” which is derived from another Greek word meaning “to do”. There’s nothing inherently wrong with either action or doing, right? Don’t we need dramatic people to spice things up from time to time? Should allof us be boring easygoing?
I guess, like anything else, it’s all about balance and timing. A little sprite of a girl saying she’s the “coldest person in the world” can be cute and seem harmless- plus, she really gets her point across most of the time. But, when she starts yelling that she “hates” her brother (or me), it’s not so funny. And, I guess this is where I come in: not so much by correcting the action (although, I try to do that), but by toning down my own speech. I’m used to saying things are “great, amazing, awesome” or, conversely “horrible, awful, terrible”- rarely are things just “fine”. I tend to be having “more fun than is humanly possible” or find myself “in a slump of epic proportions”. I think I need to throw in a little “normal” now and again.
(An aside, I didn’t want to use the word “normal just then. Why should “normal” be an antonym for “dramatic”. But, when I checked with my trusty thesaurus- which I don’t recommend in writing, by the way- “normal” is what kept appearing. Great, now my whole “dramatic is the new normal” theory is out the window. But, I digress…)
This school year, I’m going to try to choose my words and actions more carefully. I am going to be a less- ahem- expressive Karan, so that the kids can learn to act more… normal.
(This post was originally published in the Charleston Daily Mail’s Mommyhood blog.)