Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Who's Your Momma?

It’s an epidemic. Or something. The young daughter of a friend of mine has several times recently called me Momma, but it is all in play. She also has called me “horsey,” so you can see why I don’t take these things personally. I have to say, it can be a tiny bit awkward, but I try to be a good sport and not interfere with her games since one of the times dolls were also involved. I have to say it is rather a shock to take on four “children” suddenly. I can only hope, that should they ever occur, it won’t take me that long to get my own children ready for school. How many times can you change an outfit?!!!

But it doesn’t end there: I’m currently staying with my brother and sister-in-law and my oldest niece frequently refers to me as “Momma.” She picked it up from a movie (Aristocats?) where all the little kittens say respectfully, “Yes, Momma.” And when I first got here, that is what she did, answering anything with a polite, “Yes, Momma.” Now she often just calls me “Momma.” Mrs. S. and I have both tried to correct her to no avail. I even went through a long explanation, coached her through “Aunt” and everything, and did I make any progress? She looked at me and said, “Yes, Momma.”

In humorous retaliation, I told her at one point that if she called me “Momma”, I was going to call her Tahitian, because right before I came I watched a movie that supposedly it is a Tahitian custom to share your children with those that don’t have any. In the movie it bugged me and I was thinking, “Raise your own kids!” I actually think it was Hollywood taking license with a custom that includes grandparents and other family members helping to raise the children – now that makes more sense. Handing your child off to a single young bachelor to rear just because he doesn’t have any seems like an imposition at best.

Back to my niece, she knows I’m not her mother. That is not even an issue. The trouble is how to communicate to a three and half year old that “Momma” really isn’t a title I should go by. The logic of youth is escaping me. Of course, youth is escaping me too, but that is a whole other problem. I think perhaps just leaving the child to her own devices might allow her to work it out in her own way. Maybe. She did call me something today that roughly resembled my real name, and as butchered as it was, I applaud her progress. But then as she was heading to bed she told me, "Goodnight, Momma."

Leading a curious life,


(Who attends widows luncheons and is “Momma,” but not mother, to dolls and assorted children. And is sometimes a horse. Neigh, it is too much to ask.)

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