At some point in the past few months Henry started calling me by my first name, Kay.
For a while I overlooked it, figuring it was just a phase that would quickly pass. But weeks went by where I heard "Kay, I'm hungry," "Let's go to the park, Kay!" and "Kay, read me a book." When I would tell him I wanted him to call me Mommy or Mom and he explained that he called me Kay because Kay was my name.
I tried to figure out why it bothered me so much, and what it finally came down to was that for years and years I cared for children who were not mine, as a babysitter, a stepmom and a nanny.
I enjoyed caring for them, but it was always clear that I was merely a substitute for the real deal, their mother. I longed to be a mom to my own child and finally, I got my wish. When, as a baby, Henry first displayed his preference for me, and then eventually said "mama" -- well, there are no words to describe how I felt.
No wonder it was painful to hear Henry call me by my first name.
Now, I know I'm still Henry's mom, and still just as important to him, no matter what he calls me. And I realize that his having to share Silas with me could account for the change and that maybe -- probably -- I should have let it go.
But finally, one day when I was yelling at him about something unrelated, I added, "And from now on you're going to call me Mom or Mommy! No more calling me Kay!" Surprisingly, he agreed. He still slips up sometimes and calls me by my first name, but he willingly changes it when corrected.
It's good to be the mom again.