What's In A Name?

The Next Family

By: Brandy Black


“Oh, actually Susan’s Mom and I’m Mama.”

This is a phrase that I have repeated multiple times with various family and friends over the last couple weeks. Every time I say this annoying, yet incredibly important phrase it reminds me of a conversation Susan had with a friend a while back.

Said friend was complaining to her about a couple lesbians who always tell him what to call them in relation to their children.

“Why is it so important who’s mom and who’s mommy, they seem to get so uptight about it.”

At that time our daughter wasn’t even talking, so Susan didn’t really know how to answer the question –she hadn’t given it much thought. But now…now we get it.

Although we gay people might irritate straight folks with the emphasis of a title in the presence of our children, it is truly important to us. See, I think people forget how lucky they are to have a built in name- mom, mommy, dad, daddy. These are things that a child is born knowing. Names that are universal- everyone knows who they are talking about when a child shouts at the top of their lungs….DADDY!
When little Sophia asks for Mama, there is either an awkward pause or a quick assumption as to which one of us she might want. This is generally the case unless we give a brief family vocabulary lesson. Many times our definitions go in one ear and out the other and I find myself a broken record and probably rather “uptight”.

My 9-year-old niece, Jenna, got it right every time and I hadn’t even schooled her yet. She took it upon herself to do her research and she called me by my given name and Susan by hers. She even corrected her mom when she would slip up.

“Mom, Brandy’s Mama and Susan’s Mom.”

It was truly touching. Thank you, Jenna, for your sweet, heartfelt attention to detail; it didn’t go unnoticed by me, Susan or Sophia.

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