My husband and I made a very stupid deal before our sons were born.
He would name the boys, and I got to name the girls.
Obviously, you can see how this turned out. Why could I not see how it would turn out? I mean HELLO, the man is one of FOUR sons after all.
I had high hopes for a daughter. She would dress just like me, she would go everywhere with mommy and be my petite princess. My protege, my legacy.
When I got pregnant with Mino, I was just happy to be pregnant, given the fact I had been diagnosed with Endometriosis and told to hang it up. So when they told us he was a boy, I wasn't disheartened. I was just happy that he was strong and nothing had gone wrong with that pregnancy. We named him after my husband, and his grandfather. He is their legacy.
I have never told anyone why I call Mino, Mino. So gather around, kids. It's story time!
Mino (美濃国) was a province in Japan. A place that doesn't exist anymore. And my son, my Mino, was like an eclipse. A love I never thought I would feel again. I actually told my mother when I got pregnant with Nelly, I didn't know if I could love another baby like I loved my Mino - but as all mothers know, your heart can fit more love in it for your children than you ever could imagine.
When I got pregnant with Nelly, I thought SURELY this is it! My daughter! A little girl. We all know that he was not, in fact a little girl. I had named him Carter when my husband brought up our deal, and literally in the hospital, only an hour or so old, his name was NOT Carter. But he became my Nelly, and it fit.
Mino and Nelly. I couldn't see my world without them. I call those names about a hundred times a day. My mino and myyyyy Nelly.
But for all the meaning, the stories behind it, my children have defected.
They no longer want to be called Mino and Nelly.
My mom told me two weeks ago that Nelly wanted to be called by his name. I told her that maybe he wants her to call him by his name, but mommy can call him Nelly.
And Mino, who has been referred to as "Mino-bean," "Mini-mini," "Mi..." Last night said to me "I'm just Chris, mom."
To add insult to injury - Nelly followed with, "And I'm just Cah-nell!" (He hasn't quite gotten the grasp of the "R" in Carnell.)
I was stunned. I mean at LEAST the consolation of not having necessarily picked out their names was that I could honestly call them whatever I wanted in the end. But not anymore. They've decided they don't want my baby nicknames anymore.
Inside I felt that pang. If you're a mom you know the one.
Like a nail going into a coffin. You feel it when your child stops needing their pacifier.
Or when they've weaned from nursing for good.
Or when they start walking and you know how rarely they'll need you to carry them again.
When they just grow up and you find yourself going "How?" and "When?"
Now there was an internal monologue - I have these quick and often. It was tantamount to a pep talk, quickly urging myself not only to suck it up, but not to show them even the faintest wince.
"SET THEM STRAIGHT!" I told myself.
I stood my ground and let the small people know that I get to call them what I want and Mino and Nelly is what I had just said.
But I know my time is short.
My boys are growing up. And when I ask myself "How?" and "When?" The only answer I'll have is, "It happened one night."