I turned my phone off when we got on the plane Sunday morning at 5:45 eastern standard time. I didn’t turn it back on when we landed in Chicago. Not really a big deal. Everybody I know was probably sleeping anyway. I left it off until all air travel was completed and we were leaving the airport. Even then I didn’t return any phone calls, didn’t respond to any text messages. I couldn’t bring myself to break out of the bubble.
Saturday night I looked and looked at Moo trying to recognize the baby in the little girl. There were certainly things to identify. I used to use those little feet to press light switches as I left rooms with my arms full of baby. “How will it be not to have ten even little brown toes as part of my daily existence?” I wondered to myself over and over until eventually I found out. Then there they were on the hotel bed, stretching to enjoy their freedom from socks just like they did at half the size.
Sunday as we settled in for our long flight she sat in her big airplane seat turning page after page of the “sky mall” and I began to see how this girl had grown from the baby I knew. At nine months old she used to pass hours at church with a hymnal on her lap flipping pages from front to back and front again perfectly content.
“Mom,” she calls me before even the first day is through. Because she remembers, or would she call any lady “mom” at this point? In the magazines she points to every woman and says it.
When she starts saying “mama” I’ll feel more comfortable with things. I don’t care to be called “mom.” It’s tolerable from a child a little older. Once they start playing with friends they inevitably pick it up and carry it home. I can take it from them as long as they slip back into mostly “mama’s” when it’s just us. Coming from a two year-old still feeling her way around spoken language though, “mom” is foreign. Still I’ll take it over “mommy.” Something about “mommy” doesn’t sit with me. It sounds fake and sticky in my ears. Lucky she doesn’t use that one much.
The other kids are keeping busy clamoring for her attention. I wonder how long it will take for the novelty to wear off so they’ll start expending their energy in a more even distributive pattern. All morning they both channeled all of it into her. Somehow she managed to stay mellow.
And that’s all I got.