My Birthday, My People

December 1, 2018

I do enjoy a great birthday. I’m about 20 hours into enjoying 48, and so far, it’s pretty darn good. I’m usually a very demanding diva when it comes to my birthdays. I know this about myself. I want my chocolate butter cream and my thoughtful gifts and the day needs to be about me. Me. ME! But this year, my only demand was lunch with some of my people. I wasn’t disappointed. I think I just wanted to be with people who really know me. They know me by different names; I’m somebody different to each of them, and this year sitting at a table with some of my fave people who really know me is just about the best present I could get.

I’m not sure when or how “Mommy” fell out of vogue, but Oh Emily addresses me with the no-nonsense “Mom.” Her moniker for me sounds devoid of emotion and detached from affection, but My Enchanting is far from either. Lately this bundle of nerves and emotions, and self-proclaimed Daddy’s girl is attached to my hip and all up in my business. Her idea of cuddling is to lie right on top of me like a blanket so I’m unable to move. And sometimes she stands beside the sofa or my bed, staring at me, and grunts or moans at me when the generic “Mom” doesn’t meet her emotional needs. But even though her guttural utterances are wordless and lack definition, Mom knows what Emily wants. She just wants my attention. Undivided. Unplugged. Uninterrupted.

Lauren. She’s complicated. But of course, she always has been. These days she’s walking a thin line between kid and grown up, and it’s not an easy walk. Trust is hugely important to her these days, and she is trustworthy. But she is guarding her secrets now like another Mauk girl used to, and she doesn’t want to trust me with some of her pains and disappointments. But she loves me still, and in her texts she calls me many things. I get “Birth Giver” pretty frequently, “Madre,” and “Mother.” It’s not as formal as you might think. It sounds more like an exasperated sigh like “Muthurrr.” I call her “Bae” because she doesn’t like it, and when she needs something from me, I make her call me “Boo.” It’s interesting that My Lovely calls me so many names. Maybe she’s watching to see what I respond to or if one name works better than others. Whatever name she needs to call me, she can trust that I’ll answer.

Grace was the first to call me anything. Under her breath, she’s probably called me plenty I don’t want to know about. In her darkest season, I told her that if she was ever struggling, she could just tell me, text me, call me, let me know and I would do anything…ANYTHING…to help her. She never did. She struggled alone until she just couldn’t anymore. I think she knows I meant what I said, but My Gorgeous is a butterfly who wouldn’t be strong enough to fly if she hadn’t struggled out of the cocoon herself. And this warrior calls me “Momma” with the sweetness of someone who remembers who was willing to fight beside her.

Then there’s Paul. I remember the first time he called me, and the first time he called me “my girl.” Times have changed, but I’m still his girl. For this moment in our lives, though, I’m often “your mother” as in “where is your mother,” and “go ask your mother.” He also calls me Momma, as in “ok Momma, time to go!” But he has stressed all week dealing with a blown transmission, an expired warranty that shouldn’t have been honored but thankfully it was, and searching online for a new ride for me. And he almost bought me a car that I really liked today for my birthday, but he just didn’t trust the seller, so we walked. I’m usually the one with the intuition about things. But he knows cars, and I don’t. So I’m gonna trust that Paul knows how to take care of his girl.

And we’ve got the boyfriends with us now. I told them both that my birthday lunch was mandatory so I expected their attendance (there’s that demanding diva). Lauren has been dating Tanner since July. He’s been calling me Momma Mauk since pretty early on. And Grace and Chandler have been together since March. I’m just Grace’s mom to him. I think it’s taken him longer to get to know us. He’s here all the time, and to me, it just feels like he’s supposed to be. Maybe he doesn’t have a name for me yet, but I’ll call him “mine.”

I had surprise coffee and Krispy Kreme’s this morning with a couple that has known me long enough to officially call me “old friend.” My first birthday greeting came in this morning at 6:59. “Happy Birthday Sis!” Nope, not from Laura. It was my bro-in-law Keith. Laura actually came in one hour later and blamed it on her shower schedule. MmmmHmmm! That’s ok. She brought her family to my mandatory lunch, and her kids both said “happy birthday Aunt Sandie.”

These are some of my people. I have a lot of great people. The best of them know the worst of me, and they’d be justified in never calling me anything. But I’ve been hearing from my people all day, and you’re making it the best birthday evah!

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