Written by Emily
“No way, Mom!”
“What?! I’m not Mom! I’m Mommy,” I answered and then buried my face in her belly as I tackled her to the ground.
When she stood up, her cheeks were flushed, and she smiled. The light from the windows made her hair glow.
“No way, Mom!” she said again.
I tackled her again because this was a game now.
Since that day, I catch her playing with her toys. In her imagination, all the kids say “Mom” and the doll house women spring to action when they hear it.
She’s trying it out like new shoes–running and jumping and wiggling until she knows for certain they’ll take her where she wants to go.
Mom. She’s testing its weight on her tongue. She’s seeing if it floats in the air around her or sinks.
She’s two. I’m not ready.
I need more Mommy.
Noah is seven, and Mommy is fading. “This is my mom,” he says to his hockey friends. Sometimes he sighs, “Mo-om” and makes it two syllables when I ask him to straighten up the playroom. Before too long, he’ll roll his eyes and close his bedroom door and by then “Mommy” will be gone.
I’m not ready.
Today, I’m clinging to Mommy. I’m savoring its sound. I’m flipping through the photo albums in my mind and remembering when Ma-Ma was born, the joy in their eyes and in mine–how I clapped and danced to hear it: Ma-ma. That was me.
And then it was Mommy. Their mouths almost curled into a smile when they said it. It’s the woman I’ve become, the arms at the end of the slide, the fan in the stands, the face behind the camera.
I won’t sit behind my computer with my three nestled in their beds and pretend I cherished every Mommy moment. I didn’t. I couldn’t possibly. There were countless times–some today even–that I wanted to hide when I heard Mommy march, catapult, scream out of their mouths. It’s not always sonorous around here–with the whining and the pitch that only dogs in the neighborhood (and Mommy, sadly) can hear. But my memories are mostly rose colored–as they should be, I think.
A few days ago, when I was rifling through Noah’s “stay at home” folder, I read one of his journal entries, a 100-day of school prompt. Beneath some sketches of a bear and an eagle was this:
I would love to have 100 pets because I love anamals. I would NOT like to have 100 mommys because I have the best mommy ever.
I never know what to do with all of the work my littles bring home. I often wait until no one is looking and toss it in the trash, so we’re not buried alive by paperwork. But not this time. This time I folded the thin paper with huge lines for my boy’s deliberate letters and tucked it into a zippered pocket in my purse. I want to stumble upon it and remember.
“What’s in a name?” some ask. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” promises Shakespeare.
I hope he’s right. I really do. Because I’ll be Mom for much longer than Mommy.
But today, I’m clinging to Mommy. I’m savoring its sound.