Norah trudged into our room this morning while I was making the bed.
I turned and stared at her.
“Yuh name’s Bet-sy!” She declared.
I’m not sure when, if ever, I pictured my children calling us by our first names, but it wasn’t at age two. Yet somehow Norah has recently realized that Mommy has a name, and it is Betsy, and Daddy has a name also, and it is Alex. She is very interested in this fact. Nay, I would say fascinated.
A few days ago on a bus from the city she suddenly started introducing us to everyone present at the top of her lungs.
“Hi, Bet-sy! Hi, Aye-ex! Yuh name’s Aye-ex! Aye-ex! Yuh name’s Bet-sy! BET-sy!”
She was surprised that no one else found this fact as impressive as she did, so she continued to greet us more and more loudly most of the way to our stop.
Last night while I was prepping dinner she came in the kitchen and informed me that my name was Betsy, and then stated, “I wan’ some app-o juice. App-o juice, Bet-sy.”
“My name is Betsy, ” I said, “but you get to call me Mommy.”
“Bet-sy,” she said.
“My name is Betsy just like your name is Norah,” I tried. “But I want you to call me Mommy.”
“My name’s Nowah! Name’s Nowah!” she said.
She smiled at me as she said, “But you can call me Mommy.”
I realized something from all of this. I’ve always thought kids should call their parents Mommy and Daddy or the equivalent because it’s respectful. But I never thought about what a wonderful privilege it is, to be able to say “Mommy” and “Daddy.” More than that, how sweet it is to be the one hearing those words in high-pitched little voices from little mouths. It isn’t just because of respect, it’s because it identifies the very close, special relationship between us. It’s an expression of the bond we share forever. There’s so much love there. It makes me delight in the God who wants us to call him “Father.”