Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What Do They Call You?

Names and what we are called are, undeniably, important.

Parents know the intense thought that goes into choosing a name for their baby. What will the future hold for little Clarissa or Malcolm? Shaniqua or D'vante? We didn't name any of our children until they were born, we felt like we needed to see what they looked like to know what to call them. And then each subsequent child's name had to match the others'. And you have to consider what society will think, which of course, may depend on your social status. Want to name your baby a colored flower? Sure, "Ivy Blue" works when your parents are the top-grossing couple in entertainment, but try that in a regular life and the other playgroup moms will be talking about you.

And even after your parents have agonized over your name, there's still the nicknames that people will call you (good and bad, cute and ugly). And when you become a parent, that will change, again.

I went to my kids' schools recently and as I walked through the halls, that familiar call came from the little people I passed by. "Hi, Nat's mom." "Hi, Jay's mom."

You would think that they know I'm "Mrs. Frost" but I rarely am referred to that way by the kids at school. Whether I am at the elementary or middle school, I'm "somebody's mom," "the book-fair lady," the "PTA lady." Yes, there are worse things you could be called, so no, I am not complaining. In fact, I don't mind at all.

Being "somebody's mom." There's nothing at all wrong with that, it's what I always wanted to be. I love being recognized and connected to my kids. And I think they do, too because they will come home and tell me if their friends saw me at school and they didn't. I love belonging to my kids and having them belong to me. It feels natural to me, being called "somebody's mom" because that's the way it's always been with my mother.

There are few times when I've heard someone call my mother by her given name. In fact, in our family, I believe its only my father, her sister and brother-in-law who do, and her oldest Korean friends don't. What do they call her? To this day, she is my mom, "Marie's mom." I do have a younger brother, but it wouldn't make sense to change your name every time you have a kid, your friends could lose track, so Koreans are identified by their eldest child.

I also don't mind being "the book-fair lady" or the "the Girl Scout cookie lady" because, well, that is my role in these kids' lives.  When they see me, they know it's time for book fair or Girl Scouts or PTA meeting, or at least the person to ask about one of these looked-forward to events. Everyone wants to feel needed and to have a purpose, I guess this is mine.

So, taking a line from an old joke, call me Frances, call me Mrs. Frost or one of my kids' mom, call me the some kind of school related event lady.... just don't call me after all the coffee is gone.

What are you called, other than your given name?

1 comment:

Laura said...

I love being Gigi's mom. Once in a while I get Mrs. Segal, but that's not as much fun.