By Any Other Name

I have no way of knowing whether I will live one year or ten or more.  Neither do you, of course; but between the two of us, I bet I’m more acutely aware.

Everyone wants me to focus on living as long as possible.  It’s an easy concept, sounds great, and quite frankly, somewhere along the way, our species got VERY preoccupied with the concept of time.  But is that the right goal?  I prefer to say that I want to live with a high quality-of-life.  And yes, I would like as many of those years as possible.

In the past week, though, I’ve defined a happy medium between the optimists and myself, the eternal realist.  I want to be around as long as my mom is.  The thought of her losing me is much more upsetting than the thought of my own death.  This isn’t to say that my other loved ones wouldn’t be devastated.  Nor is it to discount their love for me and mine for them!  But without me, the world will eventually move on for everyone else, except my mom.  (Please understand that I’m only being practical, and I don’t mean to upset you or elicit any “my life would never be the same without you” remarks.)

The dynamics of interpersonal relationships have fascinated me since my early teenage years. I’ve read both classic and modern authors, focused on the individual versus group behaviors, and ventured professionally into the study of organizational dynamics. While our species doesn’t enthrall me, the way we behave certainly does.  Specifically, I enjoy seeing the emotional and intellectual ecosystems we weave for ourselves each day merely by interacting with each other.

For all that I’ve studied though, nothing compares with the wonderful relationship I have with my mom.  I choose her title carefully for each audience:

  • Mother: I never use this word for her.  Somewhere along the way (yes, I know where) the word gained a negative tone when used as a person’s title.
  • Mom: This is my go-to term for general purposes.  It says, ‘yes, I’m an adult and no, I won’t take my own spawning too seriously.’  This is also what I yell if I need to get her attention.  But it’s not her primary name.
  • Mommy/Momma: An affectionate term used when speaking of her to my best friends, but rarely to her directly.  The use of it with them, however, is quite significant – as you will see.
  • Her other name: Yep, I renamed my own mom.  I don’t remember when I started using it, but it must have been in my teenage years.  I can only tell you that in my cell phone her first name is “CB”.  And it doesn’t stand for Crazy B*tch, though we have joked it could!

So why should one care so much about this naming convention?  Because it is a hallmark of our relationship.  It says that this is different, and biological terminology cannot define our bond.

Alas, I can only be so sentimental and sappy in small sittings.  My goal was to introduce you to my mom not as a person, but instead to the place she holds in my heart.  Thanks for letting me get all gushy and whatnot!


2 responses to “By Any Other Name

  • Jessica

    I enjoy knowing the origin of idioms. The expression “happy medium” was first recorded in 1778 as “the golden mean” and is based on ancient mathematical principles.

    Source: “happy medium.” The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Houghton Mifflin Company. 13 Dec. 2011. .

  • Rita Nauman

    i totally understand about not wanting to leave your mom behind. when i was diagnosed (with CML which is mostly treatable with oral meds) my family (i have a hub and 3 kids) were certainly upset, but life went on for them. my mom cried for about 3 weeks i think. she still cries regularly about it. my dying would devastate her in ways that it would not devastate anyone else. hugs.

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