A D D I S O N wooden letters hung carefully on the pink wall, I have been very strict.
Addison. Not Addy.
I gave the smack down like only new mothers can to each and every person who dared shorten her beautiful, elegant name to the butchered version of the name that I loved EVERY letter of.
"NO no NO no NO. It is ADDISON." I would correct them with an air of shock and unbelief that they would be so cruel as to alter the name that I had so carefully chosen.
When I pictured an "Addison", I pictured a cultured, gorgeous woman who loved dancing, reading, and cooking with her mother. When I pictured an "Addy", I pictured a stubborn woman who hated her mother. (No idea why. At the time I didn't know any Addys in real life, and the ones I have met since are wonderful, non-stubborn, mothering-loving people!)
For the past three years, everyone has graciously called Addison by her full name A-D-D-I-S-O-N all the while giving me the side eye of "did I get it right?" (I also heard a few choruses of "unreasonable mother" whispered about...but I didn't care. This was the ONE thing I could control in my daughter's life. Her name.)
My perfect plan all started to unravel a week ago when Carter requested his sister. "Addy!" He cheerfully shouted.
I tried correcting him once.
"Sweetie, don't you mean Addison?"
"ADDY!" He screamed back in joy.
I shrugged and went with it, happy that he was building such an awesome connection with his sister. I wasn't willing to pick a fight with 1. My little boy 2. A new talker who was doing the best he could to communicate with me. You pick your battles.
Poppa was over. (Addison LOVES her Poppa). They were chatting in the mirror together (Addison LOVES mirrors). Addison was laughing (Addison LOVES to laugh).
As my sweet girl was giggling at herself in the reflection of the mirror, held by her favorite person in the whole world- she uttered a brand new word.
"ADDY!" She yelled with joy.
"Did she say....Daddy?" I questioned. We weren't sure so we just waited. Sure enough, about thirty seconds later one tiny hand pointed to her reflection in the mirror and we heard once again "ADDY!"
And then she proceeded to shout with laughter, point to herself over and over again, and say very distinctly "ADDY, Addy, Addy. ADDY!"
I knew that the time had come to let go at whatever sort of weird meaning I had ascribed to the full name vs nickname as a first time mom. I was too busy beaming with pride at 1. a BRAND new word 2. Her recognition that this was HER name 3. Her obvious delight at being able to communicate that to us.
In new motherhood at first it seems like everything is about the mother. Pregnancy, giving birth, naming the baby, losing sleep, feeding, etc. The mother gets to make all the choices and the baby goes along with it because let's face it the baby is just a cute little bump on a pickle who cries, poops, eats, and hopefully sleeps every now and then. But at a certain point there is a switch to who is the ultimate decider on certain things. The baby wakes up one day and is a big girl with ideas of her own of how her life should look. Some of these ideas need to be tempered. Some of them should bring change.
I'm going to go with her on this one. You'll still hear me say "Addison" mostly (because a mom can dream)...but the ban on "Addy" is gone because how can you say no to a little girl trying so hard to assert her opinion over something that now seems so trivial?
I'm convinced that motherhood is all about letting go of control. After Addison's tumultuous pregnancy and first year of life, this seemed like a safe thing to hold onto. Now? It's just another one of those things put into my "lessons learned" file.
Coming from her little rosebud lips with such clear understanding as to what that word means to her...I have never heard a more beautiful name.
(please excuse the chocolate on her coat...typical day around here)