Separation: Becoming Mom

My Mommy days are numbered.

No, I have not lost my children in the woods. I am not running away to a desert island (though sometimes that seems like a reasonable option.)

momLast week my eight-year-old changed my name to Mom.

As in, “Mom, can you reach a cup on the top shelf?” or “Mom! Watch this!”

No fanfare, no announcement. It was all very matter-of-fact.

My husband shed “Daddy” about a week earlier. “There he goes again,” I thought, “Doing what the older sibs do, just sooner.” I could smile, because I was still Mommy. Still the keeper of the baby flame, the queen of nighttime snuggles, chief Band-Aid applier and occasional shoe tie-er.

Not for long.

David asked him about it this morning. “I’m Dad now?,” he asked with a grin, “What happened to Daddy?”

Josh paused.

“Well, sometimes I still call you Daddy,” he said.

And for the rest of the day, he switched back and forth for both of us, as though he had stopped to consider the implications of taking that grown-up step.

Tonight Josh led Havdalah, a brief ceremony that marks the separation between Shabbat and the rest of the week, between the sacred and everything else.


While we are sad to say goodbye to our Sabbath, we hope that some of its sweetness and peace will remain with us during the coming week.

Josh chanted the Hebrew blessings, led the singing, even lifted the candle high for us to reflect the shadows from our fingers so we could visually distinguish between light and darkness.

“I am big,” he seemed to be telling us. “I can show you things.”

He is eight, I thought to myself. And I am his mom.


7 thoughts on “Separation: Becoming Mom

  1. What a nice symbolic ritual coinciding with his change of names… I think about those days too–when I become “mom”–and my son is only 3! :)))


  2. I remember that I asked my mom about that one when I was a kid. I don’t remember how old I was, but I remember that I wanted to be more mature about calling her by name. She seemed sad at the time. I think I heard Naomi slip into Mom the other day. Quickly followed by a Mama. I am not looking forward to that. It’s over too soon.


  3. This is beautiful. Isn’t all growth separation and individuation? I felt as though I had been invited to your Havdalah ritual. Thank you. May Josh always be the light of your life. And, by the way, I am an old Christian who only recently, thanks to a dear friend, Nancy Kaufman, learned what the Havdalah ceremony celebrates. A wonderful separation of the secular and the religious. Benediction and evensong don’t quite do it. One of my boys, a PhD from MIT (had to brag) is 48 and still calls me “Daddy.” I don’t mind at all. Thanks again.


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