Mom Or Momma

Dear Cassidy,

The definition for Momma and Mom are the same. Both are informal names for a mother. However, I feel that the two names are quite different. If I had to write the definition of Momma, I would say that it is a term of endearment. Momma would be an endearing name for a mother who lives and breathes for her children. It is used with a sweetness that shows love as well as a dependence.

Mom on the other hand I would define as a distant name for a mother. Something cold about the way it sounds when it is spoken. It is a name that is used with matter of factness and a sense of independence.

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Now, if I had to choose, I would want to be called Momma forever. Just recently, you have begun calling me just Mom and to me it is just that… “Just Mom”. Nothing special here. She’s just some lady that does some stuff. “Ooookay Mom!” said with sharp tones. “I heard you Mom!” said with disgust that I would even question. “Fine MOM!” said like I should never have bothered to ask.

I am all for you growing up…. sorry, that was I lie. I am actually not all for you growing up but it does happen anyway. That said, I am not happy about your sudden age jump from five to fifteen in the past month. Just yesterday I went to grab your hand in the parking lot and you looked at me like I was kicking your puppy. “I don’t need your hand. I’m not a baby, MOM.” Ouch, is all I have to say about that.

Since when do you not need me? This is the lady that has done everything for you since the day you were a tiny seed in my belly. This is the lady that has given up sleep, food, fun, showers, sanity, friends, money, time and energy to give you everything you could ever need and suddenly you no longer need me?

You sure sing a different tune when I tuck you into bed at night. Dare I not sing your lullabies or rub your back because you no longer need me. I have a feeling that would not go over well. I can tuck you in, just don’t grab your hand in public anymore.

Ya know, someday you will hopefully experience what it is like to be a Momma. It is eye opening let me tell you. In writing this, I already feel like I need to call my Mom, Momma again. I’m not sure when I started calling her “just Mom” but I wonder if it was too soon for her also.

What I’m saying is, it is too soon. I am your Momma. I don’t want to be just Mom because I am not just a Mom. I’m a chef, a housekeeper, a shuttle driver, planner, soccer fan, dance recital seat saver, birthday party planner, hair brusher, appointment setter, boo boo kisser, bandaid peeler, broken toy fixer, nurse, prayer leader, paint partner, song singer, homework helper, play date setter, paperwork filer, missing toy finder, bath giver, clothes mender, snuggle partner.

I do way to much to be just Mom. It’s like calling the president of a major company “some guy with a desk.” I need a title that says exactly what I do. I am a Momma. I will always be your Momma.

You may not want to hold my hand anymore in public, but I want to hold yours. Honestly, if you weren’t so darn tall and heavy, I’d probably carry you still. You started out as a twinkle in my eye and a seed in my belly. I am your Momma.

I know that this is something that happens in all child/mother relationships. I know that at some point you have to grow up and push away from me. I am just struggling with the fact that you are pushing away at six. I mean couldn’t this wait till you actually were fifteen?

I want to see you grow up to be an independent woman someday, and I have no doubts that you will. Time goes by so quickly and already you are spreading your wings. I just don’t want you to fly too far just yet. I still want to be a big part of your life. I want you to need me. I can’t lie, I’m going to want you to need me when you are my age… A little less by then but still need me.

I still need my Momma. I may not need her daily but there are times that I can only talk to her and she can fix what needs fixed. I will always need her just as you will always hopefully, need me.

You don’t have to hold my hand for the rest of your life, but how about till your seven? You want to call me Mom but maybe every now and then you could throw in a Momma just to see me smile.

Look, Jacob is almost three now and you are six. I don’t have any babies left. Pretty soon he will be on board with the “just Mom” kick too. Soon, I won’t have anyone to hold and you will both be too embarrassed to have me around. I know that this is natural, but I was really hoping that I had a little longer.

I love you both with everything that I have. I may be a source of embarrassment for you at times and you will surely both become independent sooner than later. I won’t be able to hold your hands forever, so how about just a little while longer? Let me be your Momma for just a bit longer. I promise, someday you can call me Mom….. but for right now let me still feel needed by calling me Momma.

Love, Momma

There Is A Monster In My Closet

Dear World,

Each night that I tuck my babies into their beds we go through a routine. There is the brushing teeth, prayers, hugs and kisses. I sing them each two lullabies that seems to calm them. I put Jacob in bed first and then I move into Cassidy’s room where I comfort  and reassure her from her fears. She has a few different fears right now. She is afraid of the dark, she is afraid of things outside her window, and she is terrified of throwing up. The last fear is probably the worst fear for her so each night she asks me if I think she is sick, to which I say “no”. I wish that all fears were as silly as this one.

Every night we do the same thing and sometimes during the day little fears arrive as well. I am there to comfort and negate all of those fears. I make the day less scary for my two babies. Sadly, as I thought about fears in general, I realized how many fears that I have.

Cassidy is worried about monsters outside of her window and so am I. I look at this world that I have brought these two perfect little beings into, and I am terrified of all of the monsters out there. Bad people are everywhere and every minute of every day there is more news telling the horrible tales of what these monsters have done next.

I walk into a grocery store with my purse tight under my arm so that I don’t have anything snatched out of it…. yea because my suburb life is so scary, but what I really should be clutching tight under my arm is my kids. It is so hard to let go of them when you know that the world around us is a mess.

Every part of their lives is a fear for me. I am sure at one time sending your child to school was comforting. I’m pretty sure that my parents never worried about sending my siblings and myself off. Yet I worry profusely each time my kids leave my sight. Bad things do happen and they can happen in schools now too. What was once a safe place can be horribly dangerous if one of those monsters happen to be there.

I look at the news over the past couple of years and I realize that so many of the places that were once safe havens are no longer. Churches are blown up, schools are shot up, buses filled with children are taken, movie theaters are rampaged with violence… need I go on? I could fill the rest of this post with all of the terrible monsters that are out there.

So in today’s day in age, being a parent is a whole lot more about keeping your fears at bay, than it was in years past. I listen to my parents tell stories of their childhood and how they would go outside each day on their own and they wouldn’t come home until it was dinner time. They’d hop on their bikes and ride off to where ever they ended up. There was no cell phone communication and my grandparents had no idea where they were. They were out in the world, on adventures and living life.

My children will probably not experience the same adventures. I am terrified that when Cassidy hops on a bike… in my presence mind you, that our own small street is a danger zone of speeding cars and dangerous curves that could hurt her. I am afraid of her riding a bike on our street with me right next to her.

I put Cassidy on the bus last year for the first time and I realized how scary that was. I just let her go off on some hunk of metal driven by God know’s who, and without seat belts. I would never let her ride in a stranger’s car and I certainly wouldn’t condone no seat belts… but yet we do on a school bus. So now I’m afraid of the school bus, great!

I’m afraid of our neighbors. We’ve been in our house for a little over a year now, and we don’t know many people very well. Our old neighbors I had known for almost eight years and I would have trusted them with the safety of my children… now, not so much. How do I know that one of these neighbors isn’t actually a monster? They do apparently reside anywhere.

I am afraid of little kids that are bullies. Last year Cassidy had a few incidents with a bully. Everything turned out fine and hopefully the little boy was really just interested in getting her attention and not actually hurting her. The sad thing is that sometimes these little kids do turn into the monsters that bring weapons to school. So now I have to be afraid of a six year old that will turn into a monster by the time he is twelve.

I am afraid of everything! When did parenting become so scary? I just listed a few fears but honestly I imagine that there will be far more as the two of them grow up.

I think that when we embark on the journey of being a parent we all set out to be the best. We want to take care of our kids and love and support them in such a way that they will become the best. We all want perfection for our kids and it is truly difficult to come to grips with the reality that there is no perfection. Every single day will be filled with fears and hurdles to overcome. Sadly, we no longer have someone to sing a lullaby to us and remind us that it isn’t that scary.

When Jacob says that he is scared of a monster in his closet, I open the closet door and turn on a light. I show him the obvious, that there is nothing inside his closet but clothes and toys.

Some of the fears we have as parents need to be the same. It is easy to dwell on all of the scary things out there, but then we’d never leave our house again. I need to open my mind up a little bit and let a little light shine in. Yes, I am still going to fear life in general. My kids mean everything to me and I would stop at nothing to keep them safe, but there does come a time when I have to say  that I am stronger than my fears.

I little prayer each night that my babies will be kept safe, and a little hope that there aren’t any monsters out there right now. When and if the time comes that we should face a monster, I will pray that I have the strength to overcome. I guess that is really all we can do.

Love, Cherise