I’m Mama. My partner is Mommy. Though, we are both mommies and mothers and moms and mommas. We slip and call each other the wrong name on occasion.
Antonia knows who is who but sometimes she’ll say “MamaMommy” or “MommyMama.” I think that’s her way of saying “parents.”
When we are out and about, it can be confusing to strangers.
Every day after day care, Antonia likes to stop in her favorite store, a small Asian market. The ladies wave and say hi, and she shows off her jacket and shoes. The delivery boys know her too, and it often makes me wish I knew how to cook more than toast because there are a lot of exotic vegetables and noodles.
Because of my work hours, my partner picks up and drops off Antonia most days. I just started getting her one day a week. When we go into the store, the ladies ask her, “Where is your mommy?” Antonia looks at them like they are being silly and points to me. They laugh and think she doesn’t understand. I have tried to explain that I’m her mommy too, but they don’t seem to get it. My partner says they refer to me as Antonia’s “aunt.”
I often wonder what people think when we are out and about as a family or just the two of us, and I tell Antonia, “Mommy’s over there” or “Mommy is parking the car. We’ll meet her in a minute.” Do they think I’m her aunt or a family friend?
It doesn’t really matter what others call me – Antonia’s Mama, Momma, mommy, aunt – as long as Antonia knows I’m hers and she is mine and I will love her no matter what. It’s hard to ask her what she knows – she doesn’t speak in future tenses and only says a couple sentences – but when she grabs hold and squeezes us tight with all her might, I’m pretty sure she knows we are hers and she is ours, whatever our names happen to be.
Laura Carpenter wrote this blog post during her 15-minute break at work on a scratch piece of paper. She lives with her partner and daughter in Anchorage.
PS The title of this blog post comes from one of our favorite children’s books.