Dear Mom…Please stop calling me Buddy

Dear Mom picture

Dear Mom,

Please stop calling me Buddy.  I don’t like it.

At first, I was afraid to say anything because you’ve used the nickname since I was little.  Now I’m 9 ½ and Buddy sounds weird.  It’s embarrassing.

I was also worried I would hurt your feelings.  You always seem so excited to call me Buddy.  I can tell it means a lot to you.  I think you think calling me Buddy automatically brings us closer together.

It really doesn’t.

I know you love me when you sing to me in the morning, sneak a hug and a kiss on the corner before school, helped me wash the toenail out of my eye after it shot up off the clipper, taught me how to follow my basketball shot, pay me allowance, cook me perfect pasta, and stay for a cuddle talk at tuck in.

Like you always say, “Actions speak louder than words.”

Another thing; why do you call me Buddy when you’re mad?  Buddies are supposed to make each other happy, but every time you say

“Shut the Wii U off now, Buddy.”

“It’s late, Buddy.  Go back to bed.”

“Buddy come on, you left the student planner in your desk, again?”

with a growl or snake-eyed glare, I only feel scared and to be honest, a little angry myself.  The whole thing doesn’t make sense.

Know what else?  I like my name.  I like when you say my name.  I remember the story of how I got it.  You decided in eighth grade that if you ever had a son you would name him after your grandfather.  And you did.  So why don’t you use it?  You wouldn’t like it very much if I called you Red instead of Mom.  That’s not respectful.

The definition of Buddy is “a close friend.”   For real.  I Googled it.

Mom, I have friends.  I wasn’t a natural at making friends, but you showed me how to introduce myself, share, and speak up.  And when I felt shy about joining classmates in the block center or had a hard time sitting at a crowded snack table in preschool, you got me a helper teacher.  Now I’m good.

William from the baby playgroup, the kids in my class, the boys I have snowball fights with on the walk home from school, and the guys from my team; these are my buddies.

The ladies you meet for lunch and a chit chat, Daddy on date night, and that funny guy who fist pumps and belly dances in an elf hat at CrossFit; those are your buddies.

Maybe when I’m in college or living in my own apartment we will be close friends.

Right now, I need you to be my mom.

So please stop saying Buddy.  I know it’s different and might be a tough habit to break, but you can handle it.

I Love You,

Your son

I never got into the habit of calling my children Buddy.  Bubbe, Big Guy, Skootch, Kiddo, and Bubbeleh yes; but never Buddy.  If I had, I hope that one of them would write me this letter.

 

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4 thoughts on “Dear Mom…Please stop calling me Buddy

    • I think my boys will be hearing “Bubba” at a minimum well into their 30s :-). Thank you for taking the time to read this piece. I’m glad you liked it. I’ve been wanting to write this one for a very long time.

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  1. My first question is, did a 9 1/2 year old really write this letter? The word choices are very mature. Now, I’m not saying a 9 1/2 year old doesn’t feel that way because I have my own child who fought to be rid of the nicknames I gave her. “That isn’t my name,” she said. Or “please don’t call me that,” but the truth is she has never articulated her request so eloquently as this author has. I have worked very hard to refer to her only by her name, but even at 13 when I slip up I still hear, “that’s not my naammmmma!” In a way only a 13 year old girl can put it.

    It’s hard for us mothers to let go of the tiny creature who needs us so desperately at first. Our love for them doesn’t change just because they get older and I suspect when my children are my age, plain ol’ old, I will still love them the way I did when their cheeks were chubby, their fists wrapped tightly around my finger, and their legs wobbling to hold them up. Those terms we give them are terms of endearment, but before we realize what’s happening our little darlings are trying to break free of us; trying capture control of their lives. It stands to reason they pick something like their name as a stepping stone. I suppose we should applaud them. Right after we pass around the box of tissues.

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    • Leave it to the middle grade author to call out the voice in this piece ;-). I’ve had the good fortune to teach some pretty articulate 9 year olds, but let’s say this phantom tween has reached an admirable level of Common Core College and Career Readiness. And for the record, I’m not letting go of Bubbe or Skootch just yet. Thank you for your thoughtful comment!

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