I was a pushover kind of kid. My mother was bossy, my siblings were bossy, and my best buds were B-O-S-S-Y, bossy. I pretty much did what I was told to do. I remember, or I have created the memory, that I didn't mind doing my friends' bidding. Complying seemed easier than the confrontation that would arise from refusing. Now that I write that, it seems the very definition of a doormat.
However, I also always knew there was a limit, and I had a very strong sense of integrity based on some pretty nit-picky elements. That limit was reached and that integrity was under attack when one morning Amy said to me:
"Sarah, you need to stop calling your mother Mama. We're growing up, and you're supposed to call your mother Mom."We were all of eight or nine, maybe ten, by the way. I can picture just where we were on Booker T. Washington's campus, under the awning in which open-air "hallway," when my integrity was thus attacked. Completely out of character (and I remember this clearly), I responded,
"That's the stupidest thing I ever heard. I will call my mother Mama for the rest of my life!"
And so, to bring this circle round, Maggie has started calling me Mom. I will not lie and say this doesn't break my heart a little bit. Or alotta bit. I knew it would happen (though not at age four!!!), and I had resolved that I would just let it be. But then when it did, I corrected her. It slipped out. Sort of.
I know better: I'm showing her exactly how to push my buttons; I'm giving her fuel for rebellious acts; I can't control her, and I need to let her be herself. So I don't correct her any more, but the other day, when she said Mama, I told her liked that name best. Maybe that was an act of control, too...OK, I admit it was an act of control.
Sigh. (I guess I'll never have a Zipperumpazoo of my davy own.)
Any other mamas feel this way? Do you have any personally important preferences you've had to let go?