What's In a Name

Emily used to call me different variations of “Mom.”  Now she calls me “Amber.”

What happened?

I guess being around extended family members confused her. Because other people didn’t call me “Mom, Momma, or Mommy,” she didn’t understand why she should.

Or so I’ve concluded.

Whatever the reason, I really miss being called Mom, Momma, and even Mommy.  For me, there is something innocent about my babies calling me Mom; thus, when she stopped calling me that name, preferring to use my first given name, I felt as if she went from age 2 to 20.

I still find value in my kids growing older, avoiding mourning as they age.  However, I am also fighting tears as I observe them moving rapidly through stages: when I hear Andrew speak in complete sentences (e.g. “I want shoes, Mommy”) rather than repeating vowels and syllables (like “baba”); when I look at Emily and realize she no longer has a baby face; when Andrew refuses to be held because he is busy exploring; and when Emily states, “I do it by myself” for different activities rather than allowing me to help her.  I am grateful that my kids are growing independent.  They will hopefully learn lessons and gain strength far before I did.  Yet, each day they drift further and further away from babyhood, I am reminded that I don’t have another growing in my tummy soon to enter the world in all her/his newborn goodness.  Instead, I recognize that my time for having children might be over.  Sure, I could try again, but after 3 straight miscarriages, I know my risks are much greater for enduring yet another loss.

As cute as being called “Amber” was the first 20 or so times, I find myself desperately requesting Emily to call me mommy again.

Is it wrong to offer a treat each time she says “Mom” instead of “Amber?” I think I might resort to that next.

Remember when I said I don’t want to talk about my miscarriage?  I guess I’m ready.

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16 Comments

Filed under lessons from a rocking chair

16 responses to “What's In a Name

  1. My niece went through that stage, and while her grandmother found it cute, her mother did not. Independence is great, but in our culture it is very disrespectful to call your mother by her first name, so my sister quickly put an end to that one, haha. I can't believe how big Emily has grown! She does look like a little girl, and not a baby anymore.
    E-mail me if you ever want to talk about anything! I've missed you.. nice to see you back here again! 🙂

    • Amber

      Awww thank you!

      I have tried to put an end to it, but she still calls me Amber 75% of the time. Silly girl.

      Thank you for your kind words, the same to you!

  2. janae

    I bet one day she’ll just stop, they think it’s cool for awhile then they get over it.

  3. Oh, I am clear with my kids, I am mama or mommy or mom to them. But my name is Kate. They haven’t tried calling me that consistently. I think it would break a piece of my heart. My niece, however regularly calls my sister her given name. I guess it’s a choice. I think I would respond more quickly to mama then my name. That might help. Or, if Andrew still uses mom, gush about how much you love that in front of Emily. Works everything with my girls. (Oh, you said thank you! I love that!!! Other child, ‘thank you mama.’)

    About miscarriages and futures and newborn goodness. Well. If you need a shoulder, I am here. I still feel the fear of possible loss. I still wonder about the capabilities of my body. Peace, my friend.

    • Amber

      Thank you, Kate. For everything.

      These are great ideas, too. Andrew definitely calls me Mommy still. Thank God.

  4. Bri

    Awe. I bet she'll get passed that soon but it would break my heart too!

    Look at all her hair! It's been a while since I've seen a picture of her! Your little girl is so gorgeous! 🙂

    • Amber

      Thank you, Bri! I know, I straightened her hair yesterday–just to see what it looks like–and she looked like a 3-year old. So I won't be doing that again. ; )

  5. Hopefully she will grow out of it!

  6. Funny girl! I have no advice. But I hear you.

  7. They try all sorts of words and behaviors on for size… including to see our reaction. (Huh. Come to think of it, mine are still doing that as teenagers…) 🙂

    As for our babies being past the baby stage, I remember that twinge of melancholy. But from my perch some years ahead of you, may I mention that some of the greatest fun as a parent is just around the corner? I found ages 4 to 10 to be INCREDIBLE. I think you may be pleasantly surprised. Oh, and there are plenty of hugs and cuddles during that time. Not to worry.

    • Amber

      You know, the older the kids get the more I adore their stages. I am having so much fun with Emily as she now really engages with me and Ben. I suppose it's the mourning period I'm in now. : )

  8. I've met many women who mourn the newborn/infant stage, so know that you aren't alone — even with the miscarriages. However, I'm sure the grief is compounded because of the many losses.

    You know this already, but your life with toddlers, preschoolers, adolescents, pre-teens, teens, and adults will be full of joy and frustration and laughter and tears. There's so much you've yet to experience with Emily and Andrew … you just can't know how complex and so, so good those moments will be until you experience them. Like when Emily writes her name or Andrew does his first "I beat my sister!" jig. I hope those moments fill up your sad spaces.

    • Amber

      Thank you, Kelly! You are right. I think the mourning of the kids growing up is an extension of mourning for the many losses I've experienced. The more you and other moms tell me about how awesome it is as kids get older, the more excited I feel. Hey, I already feel like the stage my kids are in is my favorite. May they all be my favorite, right? : )

  9. It is a phase and soon she will be call you by the name you have earned. My five year old loves to say, "Momma, your name is Rudri." Why she likes to do this I don't know. But it is cute.

    Grief is a very peculiar thing. It hits in moments when you don't expect it. Then the moment may pass and resurge again. And the unbereaved generally don't understand the bereaved. So your timetable should be your own Amber. Embrace and accept your sadness. Sending you love.

  10. aunt sue

    As my dear sister-in-law once told me most sweetly about raising kids: "It's all about letting go." Truer words have never been said; letting go, while still being close.