We are gathered here today, good friends, to lay to rest the beloved, the cherished, “mama.” She truly brought joy to all who encountered her, and gladdened the hearts of the family constantly around her.
I remember the time before “mama.” It was marked with anxious trepidation, as I waited for her to arrive. Each day, I’d ask the babies, “Mama? Mama? Say mama. Can you say mama?”
Alas, it was all for naught. The cursed “dada” was all that could be heard. The disappointment, as the days and weeks and months flew by, became palpable. We practiced and practiced. “Emmmmmm.” “Mmmm.” Mmmaaaa.” “Ma.” “Mama.”
The day she made her first appearance, I had all but given up hope; I couldn’t believe my ears. Was it a mistake? Mama? Did they say mama?
From that day forward, mama stayed with me, day in and day out, becoming an integral part of my life. Soon, I couldn’t fathom a day without a constant barrage of “mama mama mama mama mama mama mama mama maaaaaaaaaamaaaaaaaa.”
I admit, I often took her for granted. Some days, I would actually be annoyed at her constant utterance. I would roll my eyes, wondering why I had ever yearned for such a thing. Now that mama had arrived, it seemed she would never leave. She certainly would never give me a break.
Mama, I apologize. So often we take those closest to us for granted, as I did you. I’m asking you here, please, come back to us. I’m sorry I didn’t treat you right. I promise I will hold you in the highest regard, treat you with the utmost respect. If you come back, I promise, I will appreciate you.
But, I fear, it is too late. The time for mama has passed. The year or so we spent together meant so much to me. I may have lost you, but I will never lose the memories you have given me.
As for “mommy,” I must tell you, she’s not much of a replacement. She’s close enough to you that every time I hear her name, I think of you wistfully, wishing to go back to a simpler time, a time when two of the same syllables repeated was a speech victory.
Still, I know I must learn to appreciate this new “mommy” much as I had appreciated you in the beginning, before I ceased to see the power of happiness you held. I must embrace her now because although she’s only been here a week, I’m already hearing her replacement, here and there.
The dreaded “mom” awaits right on the horizon, and I ask her, where have my babies gone? And who are these big children calling me mom?
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