Where is His Mama?

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So Monkey has this thing about mamas. Everyone needs to have one. Whenever we’re reading books, she’ll notice if the character’s mama is not mentioned or present. And it concerns her. So much so, that she finds it necessary to assign another character in the book to be the “mama,” even if clearly, that character is not the mama.

This type of thing has happened before when we’re out in public, like at the grocery store. She’ll see someone who’s middle-aged and ask me, “Where is her mama?”

Or the time that she was sick and we let her lay on the couch and watch Finding Nemo. (Thank God I remembered the movie well enough to fast forward through the beginning when the mom and all the other babies die, unlike when I did not remember The Little Mermaid’s scary shark scene at the beginning and did not fast forward, and now Monkey is afraid of sharks in her room at night). Right away Monkey picked up on the fact that there was Nemo and his dad, but no mama. Believe me, I was NOT going to explain where that mother was.

And then last night we were reading a Care Bears book about Thanksgiving. It was called “A Very Grumpy Thanksgiving,” and Grumpy was very grumpy and unthankful. And immediately Monkey said, “Where is his mama?” I stammered and hesitated, because honestly, I wasn’t sure how to explain that I didn’t think Care Bears had mothers, and she got teary-eyed and started to cry!! She then declared that Cheer Bear was the mama, and I just agreed.

This “where is the mama” thing has been going on for at least a year, and honestly I don’t know what to say! Every explanation I come up with in my head is more traumatizing than the last!

I don’t know how to tell her that some day, sooner than I’d prefer to think about I’m sure, she’ll be grown up and she won’t need me like she needs me now. She won’t need me for physical comfort and security. She won’t need me to help her get dressed or go to the bathroom. She won’t need me to prepare her food or play with her.

Even worse, how do I explain to her that a character in a storybook just plain doesn’t have a mama!?? Or what about real kids, not in a storybook, who don’t have a mama around? Obviously I’m not going to tell her that now, but at some point I’ll have to.

At her tender age of 2.5, it’s incomprehensible that not everyone has a mama with them practically all the time. It’s just not something that exists in her perception of the world. To her, child/baby = mama.

It breaks my heart to think about her worrying over whether someone has a mama or not. It shows her vulnerability, her compassion, and most of all, how much she needs me. It makes me want to scoop her up and squeeze her tight and never let go.

It breaks my heart to think about a time when she is old enough to understand that children are not with their mamas all the time, and that eventually they do go out into the world — alone.

I know she’ll always need me — to help mend her broken heart when friends or boyfriends treat her poorly, to listen, to offer advice and guidance when asked — but she won’t need me like she needs me now.

And maybe I’m a little heartbroken because that time is kind of incomprehensible to me too.

Two weeks ago Taylor Swift, the one with whom I am infatuated, released her Speak Now album and I can’t stop listening to it. One of the songs is called Never Grow Up. I think this is my new favorite super sappy song about children and parents. This is the song that I’ll cry to when my babies go off to college, just like my mom cried to Suzy Bogguss’ Letting Go.

Never Grow Up (Taylor Swift)

Your little hands wrapped around my finger
And it’s so quiet in the world tonight
Your little eyelids flutter cause you’re dreaming
So I tuck you in, turn on your favorite nightlight

To you, everything’s funny
You got nothing to regret
I’d give all I have honey
If you could stay like that

(Chorus:)
Oh darling don’t you ever grow up, don’t you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh darling don’t you ever grow up, don’t you ever grow up
It could stay this simple
I won’t let nobody hurt you
Won’t let no one break your heart
No one will desert you
Just try to never grow up
Never grow up

You’re in the car on the way to the movies
And you’re mortified your mama’s dropping you off
At 14, there’s just so much you can’t do
And you can’t wait to move out
Someday and call your own shots

But don’t make her drop you off around the block
Remember she’s getting older too
And don’t lose the way that you dance around in your PJs getting ready for school

(Chorus:)
Oh darling don’t you ever grow up, don’t you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh darling don’t you ever grow up, don’t you ever grow up

It could stay this simple
No one’s ever burned you
Nothing’s ever left you scarred
And even though you want to, just try to never grow up

Take pictures in your mind of your childhood room
Memorize what is sounded like when your dad gets home
Remember the footsteps, remember the words said
And all your little brother’s favorite songs
I just realized everything I had is someday gonna be gone

So here I am in my new apartment
In a big city, they just dropped me off
It’s so much colder than I thought it would be
So I tuck myself in and turn my nightlight on

Wish I’d never grown up
I wish I’d never grown up
Oh I don’t wanna grow up
Wish I’d never grown up
Could still be little
Oh I don’t wanna grow up
It could still be simple

(Chorus:)
Oh darling don’t you ever grow up, don’t you ever grow up
Just stay this little
Oh darling don’t you ever grow up, don’t you ever grow up
It could stay this simple
Won’t let nobody hurt you
Won’t let no one break your heart
And even though you want to, please try to never grow up
Don’t you ever grow up
Just never grow up

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6 responses »

  1. Oh Jen! Why must you do this to me?? Now I’m all misty over the fact that my little baby is one day not going to need me like he does now… But this just also reaffirms my decisions to always be close to my family and always treasure each day and night with them!

    • I know, right? A good reminder for when they’re really ticking us off!! 😉 Life is so short and time goes so fast.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Where is His Mama? « On the Night You Were Born -- Topsy.com

  3. Pingback: I Tried Not to Write This – Really. « On the Night You Were Born

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