The Call of the Mild

By Gretchen

I had just told my seventh grader something slightly outrageous (to her) and disagreeable (to her).

She replied, “Dude?!’ and then immediately slapped her hand over her mouth and blushed, continuing, ‘I can’t believe I called you dude!”

I said it was okay.

“Well, I only say dude when I am being very serious,” she explained.

The idea a word like “dude” would be reserved for a serious situation made me laugh. I remember when it invaded the slang scene in the Aquanet, jellied, florescent 80s. To use slang from today, it went viral. Of course it had been around for a century as a western code word for clueless easterner. Once teenagers have claimed a word it is never, like, the same.

So I was dude for 5 seconds one day. It is no big deal because my name is constantly changing.

I’ve gone from mama to mommy to mom to mother to MOTHER! to mama. The word my kids chose when they address me often signal their intentions.

When I am mama or mommy, they need cuddling, a cookie, or some sort of rescue.

Mom helps them with homework and signs permission slips. Mom folds the laundry and expects kids to put the piles away. Neatly.

Mother is a woman of wise audacity who cannot be denied. It’s used by my first-born when she feels persecuted by suggestions her lost shoe could be under her bed. It’s also used when she feels self-conscious or embarrassed by my ever-helpful suggestions.

Sometimes, I have the urge to check my driver’s license to see what my name is and how much I weigh. This mommy, mommy, mama, mother, MOTHER! life can make a woman forget who she was before a small voice murmured and hummed the call.

Once you answer, you can never go back.

Gretchen blogs at Lifenut.

8 Responses to The Call of the Mild
  1. Mother’s cookies « Lifenut
    November 1, 2009 | 11:42 am

    […] over at 5 Minutes for Parenting, and I’d love to see you there! November 1st, 2009 | Category: […]

  2. melissa
    November 1, 2009 | 2:54 pm

    Once we answer the call there is no way back…but do we want to go back?

  3. Megan
    November 2, 2009 | 9:22 am

    So true! So many subtle nuances. Mine calls me dude, too, and even “Goober” (which I allow because at our house it’s a term of endearment.) I think Mama is my favorite of all. Dude.

  4. Shayne
    November 2, 2009 | 3:04 pm

    This is all so true, both of my own kids and of my relationship with my mom.

    I remember once in college, they would not let me on my flight to come home to Texas from New York at the end of the school year (long story). Bewildered and scared, I went to the nearest pay phone and made a collect call home. My mom answered, and I even surprised myself when the first word out of my mouth was, “Mommy.” I needed help and comfort and that’s how I addressed her for the first time in probably 8 or 10 years.

  5. Tara S. Dickherber, M.Ed, CPC
    November 2, 2009 | 9:35 pm

    Dropping by from You Must Chill. Great post. I need to file it away to remind me of my many changing duties as a mother!

  6. Kelly
    November 3, 2009 | 4:42 pm

    I think I’m still in the Mommy and Mom phase. Although, every once in a while, one of them will call me Kelly just to see me raise my eyebrows.

  7. Heth
    November 3, 2009 | 5:12 pm

    This is a favorite post Gretchen. So sweet and so true.

  8. More
    March 31, 2012 | 2:21 am

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