Reclaiming My Name

I became Mel in 1992 when one of my new high school friends couldn't remember if it was one L or two, he took the easy way out, and it just stuck. I'd tried Missy on for size as a grade school girl when my older sister came home with the coolest like-named friend. My given name, Melissa, is most usually my preference if only because its most often used. I like my name well enough. Though the first time my daughter called me "mama" its weight pushed my first name aside and opened my heart to something, a club I'd never been part of, and there was no turning back. Mom. Mama. Mommy. The club of women who breathe love of child. Who eat, drink, sleep mom-worry.

Last week when my daughter opted for "Melissa" I didn't think much of it. I assumed if I ignored the casual first name drop I'd sooner return to Mom. How wrong I was. We're in day seven of life on a first name basis and I want it, no need it, to end. Middle of the night, 3 a.m., the child wakes and says, "Melissa, I need go pee." Shopping at Kohl's she struts around, "Oh my! Melissa look at this beautiful dress." Like I'm her girlfriend or aunt or something less.

The fact is, while I become old being called Mom will not. In chatting with a grandmother about my current mom-ailment, she too agreed. Her daughter calls her by her first name and she dislikes it. It lacks the personal connection that mother-daughter relationships are wrought with.

I am certain it will end. I just really want it to be this very instant. I wish I could say that there was a reason she is using my actual name - as if I'd researched the developmental stage, but I'd much rather pout about it and get my Mommy back.

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