The last post explored the comedy, flavor and color of our use of language. I failed to mention something very important! The emotion of our words.
My younger son is a big fan of the cartoon "Family Guy". He does a great impression of the way Stewie calls for Lois when Lois is distracted: "mom. mommie. mom. mOm. MOMMIE MOM" . What's more, my son thinks this is the most amusing way to get my attention lately. It is pretty entertaining; he has Stewie's voice down pat.
I admit it's silly, but I get a kick out of 6'3" guy calling me Mommie. It's more than that, though. There is some deep recess of my heart that is warmed by one of my children, calling me "Mom". I can hear 50 other kids use the word "mom" in a day, but when it's my child (however much a child they are NOT), calling me by the name that only they can, it tugs at me. My husband will tell one of the boys to 'ask mom', but the name doesn't feel the same as when my own child says it. That might be because if hubby says to ask me, I probably don't want to deal with it, either.
There is great power in some of the words we use, and in who uses them. Some words make you feel warm and comfortable just by their sound. The right words can make your soul feel warm and soothed, the same way holding a cup of fragrant tea can warm your hands and smell so good, too. Sometimes just saying the name of person about whom you feel strong emotion can bring all of that emotion to the surface.
A lot of couples use code words to express deep emotions--private words in public places. We had code words and phrases when our boys were smaller. One of my favorites came out of their grandpa's saying (pardon the grammar), "You got one kid, you got a whole kid. You got two kids, you got half a kid. You got three kids, you got no (expletive) kids at all."
All parents and teachers across the planet know this is a fact: children's behavior deteriorates in direct proportion to the number of children in the group. Three kids together will do things that one child alone would never dare. Grandpa knew that and expressed it in his usual barnyard kind of way. It was the birth of a code-phrase. When our boys had friends over and pandemonium was building, we would tell them "If you got one kid, you got a whole kid." We didn't have to finish the saying. They knew we meant that they were behaving like monsters and were about to be scolded in front of their friends--a fate of unbridled horror.
I especially like to consider the emotional response of ordinary words. I love to hear "I'm home.", and I love to say it, too. Remember a small voice saying, "Mommie, look!"? Since I have boys, that one was often a phrase to terrify me. As in "Mommie, look! No hands!" or "Mommie, look what I found! Can I keep it?"
One of the most mundane phrases is one of my favorites: "What's for dinner?". At least, I like to hear it when I do actually have a plan for dinner. Our soldier boy and his friends were talking about what they planned to do when the went on leave. The guys were talking about going to Las Vegas, or San Diego or New York City. My son said, "The heck with that. I just want to go home and eat my momma's cooking!" Those were sweet words to hear.
The day will come, some distance yet I hope, when a small voice will call me "Grandma". I'm not ready for that day to arrive in the very near future, but I am looking forward to. I think that will reach a place in my heart that is unique to that someday grandchild.
What's your word? Vacation? Friday? Superbowl? Think hard, now...you're looking for a word that reaches right down into your soul and makes you feel wonderful. What is the word? Grandpa? Pizza? Disneyland?
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