I tell my kids most frequently about multiple mothers. I have many, you have many, everyone has a multiplicity of mothers. The conversation usually comes up because at the age of my children presently they stay confused with regard to the dynamic of who belongs to which. For example, Jr. Mint on a regular basis says from the back seat of the car,
"Mommy, who is your mommy?"
Now he knew it last week but since that time we have visited or been visited four times, told seven various old family stories, and looked at a photo album or three. I look in the rearview and he's scratching his head as he asks. He's flummoxed, bless his heart. #1 son is dissolved in laughter.
"Mama. Mama is my mother, hootie poo."
"But. But. Ohhhh. But. . . . but WE call her Mama!"
"Yes you do. That's because your older brother heard ME calling her that when he was tee tiny and before Mama could decide what name she wished to be called by her grandson, he decided for her by out-of-the-blue one day hollering "MAAAAAAMA where aaaaaare youuuuuuu?". Then once you came along and heard your brudder calling her Mama you called her the same thing, naturally. Understand?"
We got three miles.
"Who is Daddy's Mommy?"
I thought #1 son might wet his pants. I hadn't seen him laugh so hard since his Dad got inline skates. That's not exactly true. Since his Dad stood UP on his new. inline. skates.
So we went through this same converstation with everybody's Mama - after mine and Daddy's then it was Mama's mama, Granny's mama, cousins' mamas, yada yada mama yada blah dee mada blama yama.
Fortunately it was only a four mile trip home. By the time we pulled into the garage #1 son had hyperventilated and Jr. Mint was so thoroughly contused that when we got inside I perched him on the kitchen barstool, thrust a smoothie under his nose and said OK let's make a list of Mamas. (At this point I thought one big list might be the best way to go. Diffuse the issue?)
My ONE statement about parenting is that, in the end, it's a learning experience that's list is longer for the parent than the child if the parent lives long enough and this was one exercise that was a testament to that theory. We started out just Jared and myself and after the first thirteen Mamas the gales of laughter and conversation lured Cole to join us. Well. It may've been that or the smoothie then the popsicles, I dunno. Eeeeenyway.
Besides Grandmothers, Godmothers, Great Grandmothers, Birthmothers, Birth Grandmothers, cousins that have Step-mothers, Ex-Step-mothers, we have Room mothers, Party moms, I even have a Weatha Mutha which is particularly appropriate to mention today.
In the end the conversation wasn't at all about Mamas but about responsibility and caring and opening your arms and your heart, and how it had nothing to do with whether you were related to someone or not. I have a dear friend whom I've never met who has the same ethnic background as one of my sons, and her husband has a different ethnic background (same as my other son) and his family does not accept her. Or her children. It's tragic. The reason it's tragic - besides how she grieves and hurts over it, and how hurtful it is or will be at some point to her children - is that her in-laws don't have one fat clue what they're missing. Their lives have a hole in it they aren't even aware of, and that mutha-in-law hasn't yet. become. a. Mama.