I call my mother Momina and have since I was a kid. I think it started after a Cosby Show episode where Rudy is doing a magic show for her family, and has her mom acting as her assistant. She is The Great Rudini (I think) and she introduces her mother as ‘Momina’. I started calling my own mom ‘Momina’ after that and I guess it just stuck. I’m 38 and I still call her that. I even got her silicone spatulas with ‘Momina’ engraved on the handles one year for Christmas (because every Momina wants a set of silicone spatulas).
My mother is pretty unique as far as moms, mommies and mothers go, so I think a special name is appropriate.
This is Momina:
By trusting I mean she gave use freedom growing up. Like tons of freedom. I didn’t realize it then, but I do now. I never had a curfew, I had access to as much tv and sugared cereal as I wanted and she never nagged me about homework or project deadlines. As a result I always told her where I was and when I’d be home, I didn’t care much about tv or sugared cereal and after learning from my first bad grade, I pretty much always did my homework and projects without any nagging. Other moms would be stewing about what was due when and signing assignment notebooks etc. A teacher once told her I could be getting an A when I was getting a C and was shocked when my mother said ‘If she’s getting a C it must be because decided to, and since her GPA is 3.9, I’m not too worried about it’. In 3rd grade I was in a gifted class that made us memorize a poem. I refused because I thought memorization was useless when I could easily read the poem from a piece of paper whenever I wanted (I stand by this argument still). The teacher brought in Momina who told her that she had no intention of making me memorize the poem, and if that meant kicking me out of the program, so be it. I was kicked out and never looked back. She always trusted me and as a result I wanted to earn that trust. You’ve heard of giving an inch and taking a mile? She gave me a mile and I only took an inch. Now that I have my own kids, I realize how abnormal that was and how lucky I was to have it.
My almost four year old daughter is the sun around which the Momina planet orbits. To The Girl, Momina is Grammy. My daughter is a walking bundle of drama and emotion who has Grammy wrapped around her little finger. Today Grammy was visiting and the Girl was whining and whimpering non stop for no other reason than to get attention. Momina was trying to humor her for quite some time by offering art projects, games and various forms of attention. The Girl was not satisfied. Momina eventually reached her limit. This is the same Momina who I know thinks I am too hard on The Girl when I refuse to rock her the 3rd time she calls me back into her room at night. This is the same Momina who will coo over fake booboos and pretend tears. This is the same Momina who explains away all of The Girl’s tantrums with low blood sugar or overtired-ness. This Momina looked at her in that moment and said: ‘You’re acting like an idiot’. If its possible, I loved Momina a little bit more that day.
Momina mastered the art of driving with one hand and waving a threatening wooden spoon around the back seat with the other, but showed us she loved us 150 times a day. It was the way that she was genuinely sad if I was sad. The way she planned every birthday party months in advance to the theme of our choice, down to the special homemade cake. It was the way she would let me nap with her and throw my leg up on her, even when I was older and had a 30 pound leg. It was the way she didn’t act sad when I abandoned her Christmas Eve in high school to go hang out with my boyfriend (I was secretly going to pick up the new car my dad was surprising her with, and sneak it into the garage for Christmas morning after she fell asleep). It’s the way she has been there to babysit my kids 9 million times when I have had plans, or just been at my wit’s end and needed to escape to Target. It’s the way she doesn’t give me unsolicited advice even when she witnesses me effing up with my kids. It’s the way she never wanted to be anything but a mom and enjoyed it way more than is normal.
This weekend I’ll celebrate Mother’s Day as ‘Mommy’ to my two kids. They have not yet come up with any cool names for me, but it’s still early. I’m hoping for a MacMommy, Momster or even a Mommy Lee Jones one of these days. I’ll try to earn it like my Momina did.