When Mama becomes Mom

Before we adopted our first son in China, I thought he would call us Mommy and Daddy. Then we met him, and from our very first days together, he called us Mama and Baba—the Chinese versions of Mommy and Daddy.

That was just fine with us. Of course, that 2-year-old could have called us anything, and we would have been over the moon.

So we’ve been Mama and Baba for almost eight years. Then, not too long ago, our younger son started occasionally calling us Mommy and Daddy. We rolled with it.

And then our older son decided to start calling us Mom and Dad. And, yes, we’ll roll with that, too, though it will take a little getting used to.

Part of me isn’t surprised. I knew this would probably come—at least for Mama to transition to Mom. Mom is cooler somehow.

But it’s funny how some milestones hit me harder than others, and this is one that’s making me realize just how quickly our boys are growing up.

And they are. They seem to be a foot taller than they were at the start of the summer—and their clothes are definitely shrinking. For the first time this summer they are both tall enough to drive the bumper cars at the beach. How did that happen?

I want our children to grow. I want so much to watch them grow. I want to be here to see them climb to new places and become the young men God wants them to be. And, I have to admit, I don’t miss the diapers and the nights sleeping on the floor next to a crib, hoping someone would fall—and stay—asleep.

Besides, at 7 and 9, our sons are such fascinating people. I love that we can talk about anything and everything and that they are so capable and observant and filled with excitement about the future.

But wow, this growing up thing is happening fast. And I have this feeling we’re in this amazing sweet spot right now.

So, it’s fine, really. I don’t have to be Mama. I’m completely happy and honored to be Mom. But can we just slow time down? Just a little bit?

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Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.