Today when I picked Adelade up from school, she got in the car and said, “Hi, Mom.” And the universe halted for a split second. In my mind I was screaming, “WHAAAAAT????? My name is MAMA! I should wash your mouth out with soap when we get home!” But, my expression didn’t betray me. After a moment the planets began orbiting the sun again, and I put the van in drive and pulled away from the curb.
In my rear-view mirror I studied the pigtailed stranger who occupied my backseat. I went through all of her little friends at school in my mind, trying to decide which little brat to blame for teaching her that she should call me Mom. Then I chastised myself for thinking that her friends are little brats. Immediately after that, I ranted and raved internally about television shows where the dreaded moniker is used and abused. I blamed Hollywood for poisoning my baby’s mind with such a name: MOM. I thought of all the negative things that are associated with the word…Mom Jeans. Mom Hair. Teenaged eyes rolling and “MO-om!!!”
Mama is my name. Mommy is also acceptable. From Emerald, Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma will be tolerated until such time as she can properly form the two-syllable and more appropriate “Mama.” When I birthed these children, yes, when I labored for thirty hours with Adelade, when I stayed up with her for eight hour stretches at night and held her dutifully while she screamed in my face, I remember thinking, “Well, at least I am her Mama. She will never forget that.”
Shouldn’t she have been asked to sign some kind of agreement at birth that she would not stick a hot poker in my heart by calling me Mom when she is but seven years old? She could’ve at least given a fingerprint or a blood sample or something. But, alas, no agreement was drawn up (thanks a lot, lawyer husband), and now I have no legal recourse at all.
Thankfully, before bed she called me both Mama and Mommy, and I remembered how adorable and awesome she is. I suppose she was just trying out the new dreaded grown-up version of my name, and I guess now that I have heard it depart from her lips, I won’t be so shocked next time. Maybe all of the oxygen won’t be sucked out of the atmosphere when I hear it again. I hope that’s the case.
Just another sign that my original baby is spreading her wings and her vocabulary. I’m all for vocabulary building, but I would be a-ok with just omitting that one, that MOM, from the dictionary. I suppose there are worse things she could call me, but I can ground her if she calls me names. When I hear Mom, I just have to act cool with it. “Hey,” my expression will say, “I’m a cool mom with mom hair. I can dig it.” But, inside, I’ll just be a Mama wondering where her baby has gone. Oh, seven years old, almost eight, why’ve you got to break a mama’s heart? Ah well, this Mama will love you no matter what. And this Mom will, too.
Paula Ragsdill Stansbury
Great one Mel!
Amelia hasn’t called me mama since she was probably 3. At some point for no real reason I became Mother, and not it that disrespectful Moth-er, just Mother, like she wanted to sound all dignified. lol I remember my mom spassing the first time I tried to call her anything but mama. She actually threatened to spank me if I ever used another term, and she was dead serioud. So, when I became Mother, I just decided to go with it, and realize that it was her special chosen name for me. I find it endearing and loving, and usually she follows it with ” I love you” like a hundred times a day. Being a Mom, Mother, Mama is the Best!… most days, lol.
Oh, I love this! My mom called her mom Mother, and then the grandkids called her Grandmother. Very dignified! Maybe someday you’ll be Grandmother and you can host tea parties and give etiquette lessons because it just seems like you should when you are Grandmother!
I feel so much better about the air being sucked out of my universe recently! I thought I was the only one. However, you handled it with much more dignity than I did. Let’s just say there were tears and a whiny voice and it wasn’t from the seven year old. 🙂
Ha, ha, Angie! I’m not sure if I’ll handle it very gracefully if this becomes a trend! Wasn’t it just yesterday that they were sitting on the floor in the nursery together??