Tuesday, January 10, 2017

I Have Become My Mother

I love my mother. She's a wonderful woman. She brought me into the world. She raised me and taught me not to talk with my mouth full, not to burp at the table, and not to go swimming until at least one hour after eating. She helped make me the man I am today. She loves me very much.

And sometimes, she even remembers what my name is.

My name is Joe. I have one brother; his name is John. And, unfortunately, for as long as I can remember my Mom frequently calls us by the wrong name. She calls me John almost as often as she calls me Joe. (If I had a nickel for every time my Mom called me John instead of Joe, I'd have half as much money as I would if I had a dime for every time my Mom called me John instead of Joe!) (That's a little math humor for you.)

And, as her sons, John and I have the responsibility to tease my Mom mercilessly about this. Over the years we have teased her about not getting our names straight seemingly innumerable times. (If I had a quarter for every time....)

On the left, with the skinny tie, is John/Joe.
On the right, with the not-quite-so skinny tie and mustache, is John/Joe
(That's Mom in the middle.)
But now, the tables have turned a bit. I am a father, and I have four kids. We have two boys and we have two girls. And yes, you guessed it, I have started to call them by the wrong name. Frequently. Some might say it's poetic justice for all the grief I've thrown my Mom's direction over the years.

Oftentimes I'll catch myself halfway in to calling one of my kids by the wrong name, so I'll correct myself in midstream, giving my kids weird hybrid names. As an example, if the names of my boys were Chachi and Roger, I might often find myself calling them "Cha-Roger" or "Ro-Chachi." Or if the names of my girls were Tammy and Wendy, I would probably call them "Ta-Wendy" and/or "We-Tammy." Sometimes I might even cross genders and go with a "Cha-Tammy," "Ta-Roger," "Ro-Wendy," or maybe even something like a "Ta-We-Ro-Chachi." There are a myriad of possibilities, and I've ended up using most of them.

When I told my wife what I was writing about this morning, she said, "And then there are the times you don't catch it at all, and you call the kid totally by the wrong name and don't even notice it." I'm sure this isn't true. I would never call my child by the wrong name. It's not in my nature. And if, by some strange happenstance I did call a child by the wrong name, I'd find some way to blame it on my Mom. It's the genetics.

So, yes, I have become my mother. The question is, the next time she calls me John, should I cut her some slack? Maybe. (I just wish I had a dollar for every time....)

No comments:

Post a Comment