Mommy by Amy Busse Perkins

Topic: Extinction

It was evening. Dinner was done. The dishwasher lashed scalding water and soap at my pots and pans, and the kitchen counters were a crumb free zone—for a few minutes anyway. I stretched lazily across my bed wondering what chore I had forgotten or neglected, because surely I shouldn’t have the time to lie down so early. My son came into the room, bounded onto the bed next to me, and said, “Mom, could you read to us for awhile?”

“Sure.” We were in the middle of a superhero mystery and the unknown of the next chapter was weighing heavily on our imaginations. I was no better at containing my curiosity then my children.

“Hey!” He shouted with joy to his sister. “Mommy said she’d read to us!”

Mommy?

My son is nine going on 19. I don’t remember the last time he called me Mommy. My daughter is twelve and rapidly moving into full-blown adolescence. I semi-jokingly tell people that we are expecting our first teenager any day now.

Everyday with my children is one more adventure in eye rolling, grimaces of displeasure at anything we say, and seeing their sheer wonder that they could be the spawn of people as embarrassing and out of touch with contemporary culture as we are. So hearing the name Mommy roll so easily and unselfconsciously off my son’s tongue was like finding a forgotten picture of me at 20 with clear, hopeful eyes and dewy skin. It’s not something I expect anymore.

Mommy takes me back to days of changing diapers and holding hands while unsteady little legs practiced walking around and around. Mommy used to chase naked, slippery toddlers who managed to escape from the bathtub and shook themselves dry like the dog after a bath.

Mommy kissed scraped knees and sang lullabies while rocking snuggly little bodies to sleep.  Mommy sat wakeful into the darkest hours of the morning when stomach bugs would descend and never thought twice about a child throwing up on her foot. Mommy made up bedtime stories about princes and princesses and magic lands on the other side of the woods. Mommy sang the Alphabet Song, played silly games on long car trips, and listened to secrets whispered just before sleep. Mommy was the first person they ran to and the last person they wanted to leave.

I watch my children growing up and growing away, knowing that this is exactly what they are supposed to do. I thought Mommy was gone for good, buried away somewhere in the recesses of their memories and my heart. I thought that Mommy was extinct, no longer necessary in my children’s lives. But I knew in that moment, listening to my son’s cry of delight, that Mommy never truly goes away. She still roars back to life, fierce and strong, ready to defend her little ones against the world. Even if little no longer applies.

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Comments
One Response to “Mommy by Amy Busse Perkins”
  1. talleygilly says:

    Love, love this. I am already mourning the days when “Mommy” ends and “Mom” begins. It is so interesting to think about these different phases of motherhood. Glad you could enjoy the Mommy title again.

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