|An old picture of Carmen and me to go with this post...|
Honestly, I am NOT kidding. I JUST typed the word, "Mommy" for the title of this post and Carmen came in the room saying, "Mom, my retainer just came out". Mom. Mommy. Mommmmmmmy. Mom. Momm MMMooooom Put the retainer in the bag and we'll bring tomorrow to your orthodontist appointment. Everything will be fine.
No matter how you spell it, spin it, say it, feel it, hear it....the word is "Mommy". It means something. It evokes some kind of response....Some kind of feeling for every person.
Never in my life could I have prepared for such a word and all that would bring with it. Tears, fear, love, laughter, anger, frustration, hope, sorrow, pain, happiness, silliness, snuggliness (I know that is not a word, but it works), uncertainty, JOY.
About Carmen's retainer, last week her band came off. We had to make a quick trip to the orthodontist for them to put the band back around her tooth. In and out. She's a big girl. She goes back all by herself when they call her. I felt no need, it would be a quick adjustment and we'd be on our way.
What I didn't know was that I would have a moment in the waiting room that I will never forget. The nurse came into the waiting room and called Carmen. She hopped up to put her book back and then looked back and saw that I was still sitting. She looked back and said in such a sweet, innocent, nervous, yet confident way, "Mommy". I smiled at her and said I'd see her in a minute and she went right back without a fuss or anything. Such a big girl. Growing up so fast and slowly letting go of the need for me to be with her all the time...
In the word, "Mommy" that she spoke, I heard so much.
Let me be clear, though, before I go on... I usually hear a word that has annoyed the ever loving CRAP out of me mostly 80 or 90 times a day. Really, think about it. 4 kids ages 9 and under...if each says "Mom" 20 times a day, that's 80 times right there! I'm annoyed just typing that!
But THIS time. THIS time in particular I heard a love, a sweetness, a NEED. A NEED just to say it and look at me. In her eyes I saw concern, but for only a moment until I heard her say my name. She had to say, "Mommy" and look at me just to know I'm there and to know everything is fine. It was so simple, but it made such an impression on me. She didn't think twice, she says it a million times a day. But I did. I thought, "Wow, can this be that I am so needed and so loved that all she has to do is say my name and look at me. Is she talking to me? Am I loving her the right way? Am I giving her everything she needs? Have I done something right that she is so confident and secure that all she has to do is look at me and say, "Mommy" to feel secure and supported?" No, it can't be. I do things wrong 80% of the day it seems. Could I POSSIBLY be doing something right?"
Everything is in that word. The exhaustion and business I feel every day at just the mention of it. "Mommy" means... do something, act and answer! I need you! Look at this! Can I have? So and so is bothering me! Look at what I made! I have an idea! I am hungry! What's for dinner? Why does...?
But when I heard Carmen say, "Mommy" in that moment, I was reminded about exactly what it is I do every day. Suddenly it didn't matter how tired or frustrated I was or what else I had to do that day. I just heard that sweet voice directed at me and I was on top of the world. I was powerful and loving and supportive. I was THERE. And she was LOVED.
When you hear the word, "Mommy", what do you think? How do you feel? Are you happy and confident and ready to act? Are you tired, frustrated and over it? Chances are, if you are anything like me, it feels like this whole gamut of emotions day in and day out.
My goal is to hear the sweetness and love in the word, "Mommy", even in those frustrating times. But that day in the orthodontist's office, I heard only the sweetness and love and I embraced it and breathed in a breath of confidence and joy.
So here's to a million more utterances of "Mommy", and a million more loving memories to go along with it...