One word, one tiny little word that lets me know that my son recognizes who I am, that he knows that I am the one who cares for him, who loves him, and lets me know that he loves me too. Until last week, I was a mother. But now, I am very proud to say, I have been dubbed by my son as "Mom."
It happened very gradually. It began as a syllable he would repeat over and over if he wanted something. "Momomomom.....Momomomommmmmm...Moommmmm...." I guess I will get used to that, as I'm told it doesn't change much. Then it started to become more focused. He would look at me with outstretched arms "Momom! Momom!" Then, on Saturday it happened. Clearly, unmistakably.
Jonah was napping while I was folding laundry. I heard him startle and then wail out, on the monitor. He was pretty upset about having woken up. When I rushed into his room, picked him up out of his crib, he laid his little head on my shoulder, tears wiped on my cheek and his slobber soaking through to my shoulder. He lifted his head up a little... "Mom." then went back to sucking on my shirt.
Perhaps it is a little conceited to take so much joy in relishing this moment. I am now Mom. No longer Jess, or Miss Jessie, or that childhood nickname my dad had for me: Bo. I'm Mom.... mom... That word is pretty loaded. That word is reserved for boo-boo healers, monster chasers, bully handlers, story tellers. And now, it's me. Conceited or not, it is every "mom's" rite of passage to bask in the thought that their child can say their name. Their child knows who they are.
On Tuesday, during my father-in-law's birthday celebration, the family was sitting around the table waiting for dinner. Jonah was in his high chair, enjoying a biter biscuit. He is beginning to experiment with gravity by throwing everything off of his high chair. His biter biscuit, although he really was enjoying it thoroughly, was no exception. Over the side of the chair it went. As I picked it up, and Jonah began to realize that I was NOT going to put it back on his tray, he became very upset. As I walked back from the trash can, he said it in front of everyone. Tears in his eyes, lip puckered out... "Mom!" It was oscar material, I'm telling you. That kid melted everyone's heart at the table. Maybe I spoiled him a little, but I gave in and got a second biter biscuit, my heart singing as I unwrapped that crunchy little cookie.