From 'Mommy' to 'Mama' to 'Mom'

06/01/2015 03:48 pm ET | Updated Jun 01, 2016

Last night, my 9-year-old daughter walked up to me and said, "I love you, Mommy."

Which meant she wanted something.


It used to not be like that. My daughter's first word was 'Mommy,' and she used it a lot.

"Mommy, can you pick me up?"

"Mommy, I can play with this toy?"

"Mommy, you are my favorite."

I know for a lot of people, it can be a bit overwhelming to answer to a child's every call, but I never got tired of this when she was little. I was fortunate enough to stay home with her and we spent our afternoons wandering through the park, or trying out the Mommy and Me classes. I don't remember the transition from 'Mommy' to 'Mama,' because it was a gradual one. When she started school, she used them both interchangeably for a while, and then I was just 'Mama.' The fun person who showed up at school with snacks or to read with the kids.

But then, very suddenly, 'Mom' happened. My life changed when I got a divorce, and we all had to grow up a little bit. Out of that came 'Mom.' The person she turned to for advice, the person she FaceTimed from a friend's house. I became the person that was no longer involved in the fun so much as the facilitator of it.

This is a difficult role to slip into. My house is the house where all the kid come to hang out, and I know my daughter doesn't always want her mom hanging around listening to all the gossip. (Don't worry, I still listen -- I know they need privacy, but I am helicopter enough to want to know what is going on in their lives.) I love my new role, and I love watching my little girl grow into a beautiful tween with thoughts, ideas, jokes and just an amazing personality all her own. But I will always miss being 'Mommy.'

Recently, we threw a big slumber party and had all of her friends over. They popped in a movie and everyone snuggled in to watch.

"Mommy, will you come in and watch Harry Potter with us?" I heard from the living room as I popped the popcorn.

Mommy? What is that all about? Oh, she hates snakes and there's one in the beginning of that movie. "I'll be right there."

I slid in next to her and passed around the popcorn.

"Thanks, Mom." And just like that, it was gone.

But sometimes, just sometimes, I get to be 'Mommy' again. And (even if she wants something) I am totally OK with that.

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