PERSPECTIVE: What it means to say, ‘Hi, Mom’

I was recently with my 22-month-old granddaughter as she was sweetly loving her “mommy.” Her abundant hugs and kisses revealed her unbridled affection for my daughter. It got me thinking about the meaning of the word Mom. After all, what’s in a name?

The word Mom is loaded. A mother’s ears easily distinguish the pulse of her child’s moment. The sweet little toddler voice speaking “Mommy” is one accompanied by a smile and an invitation for endless cuddles. But as our children grow, so does the width and depth of a mother’s calling.

“MO—OM,” heard bellowing from the bedroom closet meant something was lost. Through telepathic channeling, the misplaced shoe might be found by shouting to the all-powerful one who’s supposed to “know” where everything is at all times.

“Mom?” whispered at bedside in the middle of the night usually meant a high fever or the purge of an upset stomach required immediate tenderness and healing touch. I don’t know about you, but such late-night visits to my bedside usually meant my child would not make it to the bathroom in time. I wondered why they never woke their dad?

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And then there is the uttered “Mommm,” with the roll of the eyes, inferring the adolescent thinks his mother is absolutely clueless to the workings of the world. Little does this young emerging adult realize his mom’s smile hides her desire to ship him off to boarding school in the Ozarks.

“Hi Mom,” from college. When the I-don’t-call-you-nearly-as-much-as-I-should child calls, it could go two ways. Either she’s in a bit of a pickle or been awarded some kind of Presidential Medal. Since we never booked a trip to the White House, such calls usually required a reassurance and expressed belief in the ability to simply figure it out on her own.

I recall the memories I have of my own mom. Calling for her, at times, was like calling for a lifeline. Other times, the calling was met with a guarantee that pride and joy would unleash. Ultimately, as I found my own footing, the “Hi Mom” came with the desire to just say hi and connect with the appreciation of the one who believes in you no matter what. Somehow, she got it every time.

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The bottom line is, mothers have a listening power like no other. The moment a child becomes hers, she recognizes the language of the heart and the ability to hear the landscape of their lives. Such finely tuned ears do not come without the experience of a vast emotional spectrum. I hope the loveable calling lasts for my daughter always. But, having walked in the worn shoes of motherhood, I know such love will transform and grow and stretch. It won’t always be easy, but I have the utmost confidence in my daughter’s ability to hear with her heart, because I have been listening to her for a long time.

Sunday is Mother’s Day. If you still can, give your mom a call. Probably this time, your “Hi Mom” will make her smile. She will know you are grateful.

Anne Marie Romer is one of our regular community contributors.

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