My family has a bit of identity crisis when it comes to me. For years, even before my wife’s death, my kids referred to me as MaPa. In the absence of my wife I took on the duties of Mommy and Papa and in their mind was often indistinguishable. This week my Mom began piling on to my confusion.
Our visits this summer have settled into a predictable routine: I quietly walk up behind Mom and Dad, who are briefly started and then pleased to see me, I scruff up Dad’s hair and he grabs and holds my hand, I sit next to Mom, proceed to joke and play with her; she pats my leg so I’ll pat hers back; she puts a foot on top of mine and I immediately place my size 9s on top of hers; the whole time she is cracking up.
I’ve written before about Mom’s inability to identify me. Yesterday Mom did something new. She grabbed my arm and said, “You’re my son, you’re my baby!”
I choke back sniffles.
Then in the next heartbeat she adds, “You’re my brother!”
Okay, warm moment gone.
Silly me tries to suggest to Mom that she might have to choose, that I couldn’t be both her brother AND her son at the same time.
Mom would have none of that. Instead she adamantly corrects me. She let me know that she did not have to choose. I was her mother’s baby (brother) and I was her baby (son), that I’d come straight down from heaven and now I was hers…
… the sniffles are back.