Monday, April 18, 2011
My name is Mama.
I take a deep breath and close my eyes. My mind is always racing but I keep breathing deeply, waiting to fall asleep. In that moment when my muscles twitch and I'm in that silent minute before sleep claims me, I can hear them.
"Mom! Let's go shopping!"
"Mom! I'm hungry, whatcha got?"
"Mom! I got a job!"
"Mom! I'm getting married."
My dreams are filled with visions of the future. The Baby twirling in her wedding gown. Bugabuga opening the refrigerator and grabbing anything she wants. My handsome boy talking about his first job, and the CEO offering to take me shopping. I smile so much in my sleep that my face hurts when I open my eyes the next morning. I am filled with a sense of purpose and hope. It will be a good day because we are getting one step closer to making those dreams a reality.
"Ma-Ma! WAKE UP! Momma!"
"Mom! You awake. Wake up Mom. Mom, I want you wake. Mom, mom!"
"Milk, Mommy. Miiiiiiiiiiiiilllllllllllllllllkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk. Miiiiiiiiiillllllllllllllllkkkkkkkk!"
"Ma, ah, ma, ah. Bus, school, Sylvia."
Every morning, I wake up to my son staring into my face. His little nose scrunches up and he squints his eyes and bares his teeth in a smile. "Mama!" I will never get tired of hearing that word. I waited for it; I worked for it. Months after months, I held their hands up to my mouth when I spoke. "Mmmmmmmmm Ma! Ma! Ma! MMMMMMMMMM" I moved their hands to their mouth as I stared into their eyes, "Your turn, MMMMMMMMMM"
Every day I stared into their tiny faces for 30 minutes at a time and made them stare into my eyes. I worried that pushing them to make eye contact was like abuse. They hated eye contact. So I made it fun, we danced, I sang, we tickled-all the time staring into each other's eyes. Only once in a while, when the need was too great, I would make a request, "Please say Mama, please."
I remember when the diagnosis started coming in, all the psychiatrist and doctors remarked on their fantastic eye contact and I knew that was because of our hard work. So every day I spoke until my voice was horse. I played with sounds, and encouraged them to try it as well. I created a game using my pointer fingers connecting with theirs to teach them to point. I never stopped. And only once in a while, when I was at my weakest, I would say, "Please say Mama, please."
And then one day, the kids were sleeping except for Bugabuga. We were sitting on the couch doing our daily stare and tickle. She laughed so hard that she was snorting, I laughed along with her. "Mama!" And then she pointed at me. My breath caught in my throat. I grabbed her into a hug and exhaled. My hands shook as I called my husband. I was crying so hard that my voice was broken, "She...she...Mama. She called me Mama."
I waited for over two years for that word. I cried on the phone to my husband. He needed to go. I hung up and did the only thing that made sense. I picked up the phone again.
"Mom! She called me Mama!"