As I lay in bed last night, trying to stop thinking about whether I had packed away the kids snowsuits and hats (yup, we got our first frost!), I started to think more seriously about the conversation Abby and had had in the car. “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til its gone…” the Sheryl Crow version of this started playing in my head.
She had just come from the dentist and I was driving her to school. Not a particularly note-worthy day, sun was out, pretty damned cold for September, regular bad drivers on the road. And then she hit me with her curveball.
“Some people think it is a bit too babyish to say Mommy”.
She’s seven and a half. Mind you, she is incredibly intelligent, sometimes overly sensitive, and what I would consider an old soul…but I thought I would be spared this moment for at least a few more years.
I try to encourage my children to think for themselves and form their own opinions, in hopes that this will make them both empathetic and introspective. However, in this case I just wanted to firmly state “I will always be your Mommy, end of story”. With restraint I managed a “Well, yes, some people might think that. But what do you think?”
In her most grown up voice she answered with conviction “I will call you Mom from now on. Marshall might still want to call you Mommy, which is okay because he is just a kid.” Torn between tears of despair and tears of joy (because I also got a warm sensation in my chest that I believe was pride – she was so decisive, so confident, and so conscientious), I simply said “Well, okay, that settles it. Mom it is.”
My mind raced later as I lay in bed…was she being teased by a mean bully-child in her class because she said Mommy?…is she watching television shows that are too mature for her?… do I hug her enough? But I thought back to her face in the rear-view mirror, smiling at me, and I was encouraged. Whatever the reason, she was happy with her choice, and I (perhaps unwittingly), validated this by supporting her. This would bring her happiness, and maybe even strengthen our relationship. I was now MOM, a more grown-up, trusted, wise (okay I am getting carried away) Mommy.
As sleepiness started to overtake me I made a mental note… Mom I can handle, but I will draw the line at ‘Mother’!