or the Evolution of My Identity as a Daughter and Mother
When I was young my mother was always “Mommy”. That’s also what I heard my mother call her own mom. Once I hit the teen years calling my mother “Mommy” where people could hear made me uncomfortable. I started talking about my Mom, but at home, she was still Mommy. Over the years, though, I gradually started both referring to her as and calling her “Mom”.
I became Mommy. My own children called me Mommy (although when writing Cassie tended to use Mommie) and my own mother gradually became Grandma, even to me. As my children grew they started calling me Mommy less and less, repeating that pattern, and I became Mom, or Mama.
In recent years I have noticed I refer to my mother as “my Mom”, but I call her Mommy much more again. It’s who she is, and for me it holds much more weight in terms of affection and history and meaning than Mom ever can. Mom is a bit reserved and a bit distant and maybe more of a public persona than Mommy, for me. I needed my mother to be Mom, with that implied distance, as I was learning to be my own person, my own adult with a family and home and traditions all my own.
I don’t have any grandchildren, but I have noticed that I am sliding back into being Mommy for my kids as well. I think it comes as a byproduct of their growing confidence in themselves as adults. They are less concerned with being cool (because they just are cool!) and more focused on relationships and family ties.
So my mother has evolved from Mommy to Mom to Grandma to Mommy and I am moving through those same, if slightly altered, evolutionary steps. I don’t have any need for distance anymore and I am enjoying this second time around with my mommy, whom I greatly admire and love to spend time with. I only hope I have enough of her in me to complete the cycle with my own kids.
What do you call your mother? Has it changed over time?