I am not ashamed to say that, at 43, I still call my father Daddy. Neither of my sisters, 40 and clinging-to-49, do. (And knowing the way we sisters are, they don't even make fun of me for it. That I know of ...) In fact, they probably can't remember the day when the two-syllable title that so easily rolls off my lips did the same for them. I'm not sure why I do it; it's certainly not a regional or cultural thing for me. There's just something about it that makes me feel safe. Maybe that extra "-dy" is a mental hug. God knows his actual hugs can provide soothing and a feeling of safety like none other I've known.
And that's good. That's what Daddies are for.
On the flip side, I can't remember at what age I made the transition from Mommy to Mom. I do know when I made the transition back. Not all the time, mind you. Just when I'm scared -- which has happened a lot in the past 14 months. Scared for me. Scared for her. Scared about the stress of her being scared for me. And scared because I'm feeling absolutely and utterly useless to she and my sisters right now.
At this moment, she is on a cardiac recovery unit after having a blessedly uneventful femoral heart cath. At this moment, I am on my back, feet propped up and feeling pelvic pain breaking through the prescribed narcotics I've ingested.
When I spoke with her this morning, I apologized for not being there physically, but that I was metaphorically holding her hand as tight as possible.
And when I spoke with her this morning, I told her "I love you, Mommy," and it felt like the most natural thing in the world. I hope she could hear with every breath, every utterance, every crack in my voice how very much I cherish her, even when I don't show it enough.
I'm not even sure that she caught it; but for me, that extra "-my" has a lot of power in it, too.
I love you, Mommy.