Thursday, September 28, 2017

Thoughtful About . . . The Journey to Mom

Over the last few months, a landmark change has come upon me. It started gradually--now and then, out in public. And then it became more common even at home. And now I know it's here to stay.

My daughter has stopped calling me Mommy and now calls me Mom.

It's a strange thing in a way, isn't it? I mean, we all know our grown-up kids aren't going to keep calling us Mommy. (Though I know plenty of girls who keep calling their father Daddy, the Mommy thing inevitably goes away. Hmmm.) So obviously there will be a transition. But as we change diapers and navigate toddlerhood, as we prepare them for their first days of school, this isn't really a question any of us ponder too much, right? 

But my daughter, being a mini-me in some ways, actually seems to have put some thought into it. I'd noticed quite a while ago that when she was talking to her friends--especially her older friends--she'd refer to me as "her mom." Which was obviously fine. But then a few months ago she said something to me...I don't even remember the conversation. But it was something that, in retrospect, felt as though she was asking permission to change what she called me. I honestly don't recall the words. Maybe she had asked me if I used to call my mother Mommy, and that led to when I stopped? I don't know. I guess at the time, it didn't seem important to remember the exact conversation. But I recall kinda smiling as she walked away. Realizing that my girl is growing up. And loving that she was taking care with this.

And so, Mommy has vanished. And quite often, when I hear her call out, "Mom!" it feels so...deliberate. Almost proud. As though she realizes she'd taken a step toward adulthood, one that she could choose when to take.

There are moments when I feel as though it should make me sad, or at least emotional--a chapter is over, finished. But instead, I feel proud too. I'm not sure I can explain why. Perhaps because in Mom, for us, there's a new depth to our relationship that couldn't quite be when she was younger. I love that she sits down and just chats with me. That we rejoice together over stupid things like pumpkin spice coffee creamer and cream cheese. I love that we talk about stories and that as soon as she finishes a book she loved, she shoves it at me and tells me I have to read it too, so we can talk about it and rent the movie.

I love that though there are mom-moments aplenty--the ones where I'm saying, "Go take a shower. Do your math. No, I mean it, do your math. Stop yelling at your brother. Just dry the dishes and stop moaning about it!" there are other moments too. Friend moments. Moments when we laugh together, when we talk about honest-to-goodness things that matter, when I realize that my little girl is growing up into a young woman that I love getting to know.

I guess part of me always wondered, as I wrangled these kids of mine through screaming fits and sleepless nights, what kind of relationship we'd have as they grew up. Well, we're discovering that now. And though she's only almost-12 and we've still got those teen years ahead of us, I pray that what we're building now will only get stronger. That these little people I love so much will become big people I respect. That each year, though it brings changes and challenges, will bring a new layer of depth too. Beautiful depth.

Now, interesting will be to see if/when my son makes this change, given that he rarely ever calls me Mommy anyway--he calls me Mama. Will that stick around? Who knows. But I'm sure loving the discovery with these two silly kiddos of mine.

It's a journey, always, this parenting thing. Nothing ever stays the same for long. But it's one that I love more, the longer we travel it together. 

Here's to the road. And to the people who travel it with me.


  1. My 16-year-old son still calls me "Mommy," and I love it. I chalk it up to his mild autism. My almost 14-year-old daughter switched from mommy to mama/mom a bit ago. It IS a journey.

    You know, I have actually wondered if I should help my son transition from "mommy" to something else. It certainly doesn't bother me, but with him navigating social situations, I wonder. Praying about it, anyway.

    Really enjoyed this post, Roseanna. Thanks for sharing the journey with us!

  2. Enjoyed the post. But, I truly understand where you're coming from with your daughter. It was a sad day when mine stopped calling me "mommy"! I miss that name even though she's 40. There are times (Which are very far between.) that she'll tease or slip and call me me "mommy"!

  3. Ah. I love the way you put thoughts and feelings into words.
    My oldest stopped calling me Mommy long ago. Perhaps it's because he's a boy. He stopped calling me Mama probably in 5th grade and I just became Mom. I didn't except such an abrupt transition for my daughter but it came when she entered middle school, too. I still have two younger daughters in elementary school - the 10 year old is already calling me Mom but when the 5 year old sometimes calls me Mom...I get kind of sad.