Wednesday, April 21, 2010

cue the tears

I've been making an effort to write more about teaching, mostly because I read a lot of teacher blogs and I end up inspired to write my own posts. Also, teaching is basically my entire life right now. (Yes, I know I need to fix that.)

Anyway, time for just a 'me' post, inspired by a friend here. Miss Kat's blog is pretty new, but she posts about life as a cool mom that I'm sure MiniKat's friends are jealous of, and about nail polish so pretty I actually want to paint my nails (and that's saying something!).

She posted about parents, and the transition from "Mommy and Daddy" to "Mom and Dad" or "Mother and Father." It made me think of my 5th grade year.

I had just started to try out "Mom" and "Dad." I think the switch was a matter of independence. I was almost in middle school, and apparently too 'grown up' to still be calling my parents by babyish names like Mommy and Daddy. I didn't want to sound like a little kid, dependent on my parents. "Dad" wasn't consistent yet, but it had definitely started.

Most of you probably know that my dad died at the end of that school year. I can't quite describe it, but it makes me sad and a little guilty that I didn't always call him "Daddy."

I knew I hadn't done anything wrong, but I guess I realized that little kids aren't just 'dependent.' Especially now that I'm a teacher, I see that little kids love so strongly. Terms of endearment and hugs are frequent, but they are usually genuine. Their affection is just unabashed because they don't care about what other people think, or how it might appear.

Honestly, by fifth grade, I thought that kind of little kid love was kind of embarrassing. I was sure that I was too old for that kind of thing. (Like most 11-year-olds, I think.)

But now that he's gone, I regret not taking advantage of every single opportunity to say "Daddy." I don't care if it was natural and normal to distance myself from my parents; I regret ever wanting any distance between us. I know I would have liked having a different relationship with him when I was older, too, but I never got to. All I ever got to have was the "Daddy's Little Girl" stage, and it kills me that even any little part of me wanted to give that up.

A name may be a little thing, but it feels like it represents a lot more. It's hard to explain, but I wish I would have always used "Daddy," and never given up the chance to love him with the reckless abandon of a little girl.

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