I entered her room and she motioned for me to sit on her bed. With a piercing glare at me she declared,
"Listen to me and listen well. I'll say this to you face to face." Her countenance was earnest and I realize she wasn't trifling with me. I can always tell when my Aunt Peta is trying to get an important point across.
"You my dear shouldn't dress up as a woman anymore. You should be wearing pants from Monday through Saturday and wear dresses only on Sundays". My mind races ahead and I knew exactly where this conversation was leading. She continues with her hands flailing everywhere in the air,
"Look at your husband!' Her face crave with worry. "He can barely walk from here to there. You have to be both the man and the woman in the family. Wear pants so you can work with your hands, climb up and down when and wherever you need to climb. Run here and there. Make your hands strong like a man's for you and only you alone will carry this family."
My aunt lifted both of her hands for me to take a good look. She has beautiful long fingers, slim and polished.
"Look at my hands. My hands were once strong from hard labor and work. When my father died, I had to be both the man and the woman for my family. I worked day and night. Go to the plantation and labor like a man. You have to do the same. You are not doing nearly enough Sela. Not even half of things that I had to do when I was a young woman."
I asked myself, isn't that what I have been doing for the past few yeasr? Carry the family! Obviously I haven't been doing enough. But then again, Peta has an all knowing mind. Wise and refined from her own life. What she said was right. I need to do more. I'm still too comfortable in my own way. Way too comfortable.
As I walked out of her room, I was determined to be better. Better mother, better woman and a better provider for my family. Be both the man and the woman from now on.