I can relate to that little ditty by the Ting Tings “That’s not my name”. Since I’ve become a mom, I don’t know who the heck I am. Not just in a morning coffee, my Starbucks cup rarely reflects my true identity kind of way. It’s a form of suburban witness protection, I guess. I get extra L’s, Y’s, and S’s. It’s not that hard, I mean I have a pretty straight-forward name. I just don’t understand it.
I mean, it’s not a big deal, after all, my position on coffee is much the same as my position on people. It’s what’s inside that counts. Having a kid has further added to the confusion around my identity.
In a crowded room, my kid (or some kid) yells “MOOOOOOOM!” You can hear the crick of a dozen necks as a gaggle of moms turn their heads to locate their offspring and see what is required. We all share a name. We are all Mom. It’s not a political statement, like the way we say “We are all X” in order to establish some form of solidarity after a senseless tragedy. It’s just the way it is. We are all Mom.
My child is clever enough not to yell “Mom!” He’s all about efficiency and getting stuff done. I remember being surprised the first time he yelled out “Asson Tedford”, his closest approximation to my name he could manage with his little mouth. He knows my name, even though he knows I’m also his mom.
It’s other kids who don’t know who I am. I have learned, in time, to answer to “Liam’s Mommy” and be okay with it. My identity, as perceived by the outside world under the age of 12, is centred around my son. I belong to him, and that is what it means to me when I hear someone call me that.
As a parent and full grown human responsible for his welfare, I often think he belongs to me. I remember the time he talked about the day he was born and he “made me”. It illustrated a fundamental difference in perspective about what happened that day, but it really wasn’t far off base. He did “make me” and I do belong to him, and it’s a great privilege to be called “Liam’s Mommy”.
It was in that spirit, on the occasion of my own mother driving me to an event and first stopping at Starbucks, that I requested a non-standard identifier for her cup. I figured, after 31 years, i made her too, she’s still “Alison’s Mommy” and she should be entitled to some suburban witness protection just like me.