What’s your name?

I had a moment this morning with another parent at school that would have been awkward, maybe even embarrassing, two years ago. This morning it was just run of the mill. She had car trouble and came into my office near the school to ask for some help. She was a bit embarrassed that she didn’t know my name to ask for me, only “J’s Mummy”. We came to the realization that this is the 3rd year that our kids have been in the same class. We never knew each others’ names.

A similar situation happened after school when J shouted across the playground that the parent standing beside me was the new student’s dad. I commented to the group of parents standing with me that we’ve really been doing this for over 2 years. Right on cue, a little girl in J’s class walks up and says

“look, you know who the grown up belongs to, so you call them mummy or daddy, it’s simple!”

Who am I to argue with the logic of a 6y-o? She makes perfect sense, while at the same time forcing me to remember that I actually have a name. So do all these other parents. In the context of our interactions which almost completely center around our kids, we are someone’s mum or dad. I have fallen into this “norm” since J started preschool just before he turned 2. He’s about to be 6 – that’s some serious conditioning. I have this challenge in business as well. I’m so and so’s colleague, my father’s daughter, my grandfather’s granddaughter, my uncle’s niece – you’ve guessed most of the family is in the same line of business.

I guess I’ve been thinking about this more and more recently in trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. Sitting on the brink of the downhill side of my 30s I am far from having it figured out. I embrace all the roles I play along the way but I’m still a little lost when it comes to me.

Right now, it’s an active work in progress. I will start tonight by trying to learn everyone’s names at our class parent’s meeting. I mean, we are in Grade 1 now after all.

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