As much as I’ve resisted it, Maggie continues calling me “mudder.” Lately, instead of asking her why she doesn’t call me “mommy,” I’ve responded, “Yes, daughter?” It hasn’t helped.
“Mudder? Magson keeps screaming at me when I look at him, but I just want to look at him because he is so cute.”
“Just sneak looks at him, like this.” I peek at him quickly and then dart my eyes back at Maggie with a mischievous smile.
Her eyes and cheeks lift in an incredulous grin and then she tries looking at Magson again.
“Agh!! Agh! AAAAGH!” Magson's high-pitched disapproval is alarmingly loud.
We laugh. And then I sigh. My girl, made of so much sugar and the perfect pinch of spice, turns four this month. But it was merely 48 months ago—just yesterday—that the nurse handed her to me and our eyes locked as though we’d always known each other. In that lengthy eye-to-eye, soul-to-soul moment that we so easily shared, I knew motherhood was something I cherished. It felt divine.
With laundry and preparing meals and cleaning up accidents and middle-of-the-night throw-up and exhaustion, that divine feeling has come and gone over the years. Sometimes she scowls at me and throws a first-class tantrum with screaming and flailing. But mostly that marvelous feeling has lasted. Such a blessing, that girl.
She certainly blessed my life this past week when I spent the better chunk of two days at the Department of Licensing, testing for a new driver’s license. (Because I let my Utah drivers license expire without changing it to a Washington one first, I had to take the tests all over again.) The written exam was particularly stressful. Maggie and I waited hours for my turn. When it finally arrived, I was incapable of answering questions correctly. By the time I reached the last five questions of the test (the one's I'd already skipped because I didn't know the answers), I could only get two more wrong. I quickly panicked and bam, bam, I got the next two wrong. Now I had to get the last three right to pass--no mercy.
With each of the ending questions, Maggie said a prayer for me. The prayers started in whispers, her one eye half-open, the other squeezed shut. “Dear Heavenly Father, Please help my mudder to pass her test. In the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN!” Her volume increased with the prayer and by the end, I think she attracted some attention. I didn’t care. It was working. I miraculously managed to get all three right! Oh, how I relied on her faith that afternoon.
The experience reminded me that we need each other; I wouldn’t be a mother without her and she wouldn’t be a daughter without me. In sometimes different, but always important ways, we can help each other through life.
And I’m starting to get used to her calling me mother instead of mommy. I’d still prefer the latter, but her little voice sweetly behind “mudder” has its perks. For one thing, it reminds me of how big my role is: I’m more than a mama, a mommy, a mom. When it comes down to it, I have the serious and intimidating task of being her mother. Sometimes I wonder if she recognizes the huge responsibility, and by calling me mother, is holding me to it. Something tells me she does; as I wrote this upstairs on her bed this morning, Magson headed downstairs.
“Mudder! Magson! He’s going downstairs!”
“It’s okay,” I said.
“But he doesn’t have a mudder down there. He can’t watch himself.”
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