My name is Mama, not Dada.
My name is Mama, not *raspberry noise.*
My name is Mama, not “quack.”
My name is Mama.
You can say it. I know you can. You’ve made the noises. You know who I am.
My name is Mama.
My name is I carried you for nine months and labored to bring you earthside for 25 hours.
My name is countless nights full of sleepless hours until I wasn’t sure which of us was the one crying.
My name is nursing you through cluster feedings and fevers and nightmares and all your many growth spurts until you are the big strong boy today who won’t say “mama.”
My name is picking you up every time you fell down when you took your first timorous steps, and pulling you down from ledges and shelves and too-high stairs now that you can run and climb and bounce like your beloved Tigger.
My name is preparing and cooking and feeding you the foods you love one day and detest the next, wiping your chubby face and hands after every meal, after every day, after every laugh and tantrum and flinging yogurt on the floor.
My name is counting slowly, silently, to quiet myself when you scream in my face, because your calm has to come from my calm, and you are so little, so very very little, and everything is strange and overwhelming in your tiny, barely-formed world.
My name is marveling at your crazy strength as you pull yourself up to reach what you want, dust yourself off after each failed attempt, wake up loud and proud each morning to try again.
My name is brushing hair from your forehead as you fall asleep in my arms, clutching me like a koala, zipped into fire truck pajamas with soft small feet, nestling in my arms where you still fit, for now. For this little bit of time we have before you are saying all the names, all the words, every sentence I might think of and some I will wish you hadn’t, growing up and away beyond my reach and far beyond a childish name like “mama.”
My name doesn’t really matter, after all
because you don’t need to call me
because here I am, with you
Amy Colleen is the mother of one energetic little boy who learned to say “mama” just a couple of weeks ago and uses the new skill sparingly so as not to spoil her. She writes humor, human interest, and history, and you can follow her work on Twitter and at www.amycolleen.substack.com.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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Photo credit: Liana Mikah on Unsplash