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I have a video taken when Big Girl was about three. It was Christmastime. She was opening up what would become probably her favorite toy of all time, Baby Alive. When she peeled back the paper her joy was palpable. “Oh, Mama, look, look! It’s Baby Alive! I love it, Mama! Open it!” I remember that day like it was yesterday. I also remember thinking among the revelry and fun that I HAD to break the kid of saying Mama. It was so babyish, I thought. People might notice and call me on it. (I am and always have been so afraid of what people are going to think and say.) It was a goal I soon achieved. From that day on, every time Big Girl called me Mama, I corrected her. “Sweetheart, call me Mommy. My name is Mommy.” My question today: What the hell was I thinking?

Little Girl calls me Mama. It is, to me, one of the most beautiful sounds in the world. I beam from the inside when I hear that simple word. Yes, I know that some people do think Little Girl is too old to be calling me Mama. I can see it on their faces. Just this week a woman went out of her way to ask me, after hearing Little Girl call me Mama, how old she was. But I don’t care. Now I realize now how fleeting this time is. I know how quickly time passes. I know that the days of Mama will naturally wane as Little Girl passes from toddler to preschooler. My heart aches thinking about it. I love this time with her and wish I could stay Mama forever.

People say you should never have any regrets. However, one of my biggest regrets is wanting Big Girl to hurry up and grow. Oh, and that I let my fear of what others might think alter our lives. All those, “I can’t wait until you…” were so stupid. So shortsighted. Now, I’d give anything to go back in time and be Mama to Big Girl once more. I can’t, of course, so instead I’ll make sure I savor my Mama-hood and everything else that I love about being the mother of two young children. I’ll never wish away a moment. I’ll never pine for the future when the present is pretty amazing.

No, I’m in no hurry for Big Girl to be old enough to do her laundry or drive herself to dance lessons or for Little Girl to be big enough to bathe herself. Sure, it’s annoying sometimes to be a chauffeur, maid, and personal handmaiden, but there is joy in all three. I just took me a few years to figure it out.

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