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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Adulthood (07/30/09)

TITLE: Just Call Me Baby
By Sherrie Coronas
08/06/09


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Mom’s long-lost friend from the old neighborhood let out an ear-piercing scream as they both did a crazy little dance at the entrance of the grocery store. It had been a long time since they’d seen one another – apparently. I quickly scanned the vicinity for anyone I might know, taking a few steps forward to distance myself from the swirling hug that had ensued.

My hope for a quick trip to the store was dashed as they launched into an extended discussion about the whereabouts of Ranelle who used to live on the corner and Joseph from down the street. I strolled over to the magazine rack and started scanning Teen Beat for recent photos of Leif Garrett.

Coming out of the chat-frenzy, mom remembered my presence and vigorously signaled for me to come over to meet Helen. “This is Marissa,” said my mother with overflowing mom-pride. “Marissa is my baby!” she announced to Helen and everyone in the checkout lines with megaphone level volume.

Alright, I wasn’t really her “baby.” That’s just what mom called me in order to establish my birth order in our family of three kids. I’m petty sure it would be just as easy to say that I was the “youngest” or “this is my third child,” but for whatever reason, mom liked to call me her “baby” despite my objections. So, there I was, the 17-year-old baby captured in a head lock by long-lost Helen. No worries. I figured I’d only have to suffer the embarrassment one more year. At age 18, I would be a bonafide adult and things would change.

My magical 18th birthday was not so magical after all. There was no overnight transformation. I was still under mom’s watchful eye and was responsible for no one other than myself. At age 21, I was taking care of a house, a husband and a stack of bills. Still the world seemed very manageable. I had life under control.

At age 27, we welcomed our first son into the world and adulthood came swiftly in the night. A second son arrived a few years later. Things that I once selfishly clung to – like sleep, money and “me” time – were suppressed and denied on a daily basis. These life-altering shifts in priority were permanent and the adult–sized pressures cumulative.

The lethal combination of a lack of sleep, a colic infant and a cranky toddler created the perfect storm one day in my adult life. Pacing up and down our tiny hallway, bouncing Damon back and forth, the crying simply would not cease.

“It’s Marissa,” I blurted out before mom could finish saying hello on the other side of the phone.

“What’s wrong?” she gasped as her mind raced through worst case scenarios.

“He won’t stop crying again…” I said working into a colic fit of my own.

“I’ll be there ASAP,” declared mom.

Within minutes of arriving mom effectively produced a burp that had eluded me and the colic-one all afternoon and rocked him into a calm and happy state.

“You get some rest now,” said mom with no judgment whatsoever. “I’ll take care of Nick and Damon. Go on…” she insisted. I drifted off to sleep before my head settled into my pillow.

What was it about mom that could bring such instant peace? In a world that demanded so much of me, she was only interested in giving – giving me rest, giving me assurance, giving me love on the toughest of days.

The clock in the bedroom said it was 4:30 p.m. when I awoke. My head seemed clearer and the world appeared less daunting with five hours of straight sleep deposited into my mind, body and soul.

All was calm as I strolled into the living room like a toddler waking from an afternoon nap. Mom was in the kitchen making chili while a load of dirty laundry spun violently in the washer.

“There’s Marissa…there’s my baby,” said mom with a twinkle in her eye. My heart swelled with appreciation for this selfless woman who had called me baby for more than three decades, as I finally understood that the term of endearment described so much more than my birth order in our family of three kids.


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This article has been read 639 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Seema Bagai 08/06/09
Wonderful writing in this piece.
Lisa Keck08/06/09
Oh how those terms change over the years. Very good piece showing a strong bond between mother-daughter despite the 17-year-old's embarrassment. I really liked it.
Ada Nett08/12/09
I really liked this story! You took us full-circle from the MC being embarrassed by her mom at the age of 17 to being blessed by her mom 10+ years later...The MC's transformation from an embarrassed teenager to a grateful young mother shows the maturity of an adult!
Mona Purvis08/12/09
Very entertaining piece. I like the tone of your story. Somehow, I wish there had not been a gap between 17-18 and married at 21. Seems some details would have been nice...but you are limited to the 750 words.
However, I love the end where you brought it full-circle.
Mona
Sara Harricharan 08/12/09
Awww! You wrote this well for all the youngest of the bunch out there. lol. At first, we hate being called "the baby" and then we grow out of it and realize it's just what they should call us-because of the new meaning it now has. Lovely job!
Rachel Phelps08/12/09
This story was so cute! I'm just hitting the 21-year-old phase of being the baby of my family (no husband or anything yet) and it's so true. Mothers know how to keep things so calm. :)
Norma-Anne Hough 08/13/09
This one brought a lump to my throat as it reminded me so much of what my mum did for me, nearly 31 years ago.
Well done.
Lisa Johnson 08/13/09
The mother-daughter bond is a very special thing. Thank you for sharing such a sweet rendition of its meaning. Congratulations on your level ranking.
Lisa
Norma-Anne Hough 08/13/09
Congratulations! Well done.
Jackie Wilson08/13/09
This reminded me of how much my mom helped me in those early years. Great story! Congratulations!
Janice Fitzpatrick09/03/09
Oh, I like this alot! Very tender with just enough humor to the MC's voice. Reminds me of the days my mom came to my rescue with encouragement and wisdom, and yes I was always her "baby". (Lord, do I miss her, sigh. (It'll be a year this Sept 5th that she went to be with her Heavenly Father, and now she can be doted on and hear him call her that beautiful endearment,"Welcome home thou good and faithful servant, my child-my baby." Congratulations on your win hon and thank you so much for your kind words on my piece, A Small Shining Revelation. God bless you and keep on writing, you surely have a gift and I like how you write from the heart.:0)
Tracy Nunes 01/29/11
I loved this Sherrie! You spanned the time between the teen years and adulthood so well. We can all relate to attitudes that shift with a little more experience with real life. Great job!