M A M I…

It was that, that I feared most… the moment she would have to whisper the word…M A M I….

I didn’t want to hear that again from a 18 months old baby girl unless it was going to be Navi, my sweetest Nav.

But it was inevitable it was going to happen. I wondered what my reaction would that be…cry, smile, laugh like an idiot… what now…?

Navi had a very distinctive way of saying mami, she emphasized the M very much and would say my name a million times a day, to make sure I knew how much she loved me, she would say mamimamimamimami….., doing chemo she would hold my hand and say mami and smile, when we came home she would hug me and say mami with her  “happy to be home” eyes, and when she panicked she said mami too… mami  has been a “no” word for me since.

I know,  I know I have to be thankful for having had this adorable thing called Saralexandra after Navi who makes us laugh and fills our days with happiness, but still… I was simply scared of her learning to call me by my name: mami.

By her 16th months, we were waiting causally, as if we weren’t… but we were, and then one day in the car, she screamed from the back of her regal safety seat “ABBBBBBAAA”…. I was driving…. I stopped the car and held my breath…., I turned around to her and giggled… amoreeee (darling) you said Aba… brava (good), but aba is not here!! How astonishing, she said the word Aba looking at me, my husband wasn’t even around.


ok, have to prepare myself. The next one will be mami. So just hold it together woman!

Happens to be that in front of my kids my husband and I call each other “aba” and “mami”, I sometime slip and call him Yoss, but he never uses my name….never….almost never….

Ok, I guess when she’ll be with Yossi, she’ll look at him and say “Mami”!,  good… he’ll suffer first, I thought with a smirk.

We waited another few months, Aba was already an official Saralexandra vocabulary in the Chen household but mami was not to be heard.

I started to provoke her… wanting to get this thing over and done already…so I’ll do my little cry ecc…and move on.

No mami to be heard.

Every night as soon as Yossi would come in the house, she would run towards him screaming like a boy…. Abbbaaaaa, and we both laugh out loud, than Yossi would turn casually to me and say as if it just came to his mind…”so did she call you…?

If she did, I wouldn’t be here smiling to you, I would be in the bathroom crying.

18 months… “hello… should I call a doctor? she doesn’t call me yet, is it normal,  she is with me most of the time and says only Aba and just screams some weird letter like ddddddd…..should I worry…. I heard myself saying to my mum on the phone a few days ago….  “Shell find her word don’t worry…” wise mum replied…

My other 2 daughters knew also some of the drama that the mami word would bring, they heard me talking to Yossi one night, they heard me on the phone with my mum, I just can’t hide from them, they are my silent angels on the side, they see but don’t say anything.

Elkah ran out of her room one eve  screaming…..mami, she just called u…. I dropped the plate I was washing in the sink with  a loud noise and a sweet crack… ran to her room with my heart racing, Saralexandra is standing by Elkah’s bed looking for me screaming “ADDDDAAA”…. I looked at both my daughters in shock…. she didn’t say mami…. no mami, said elkah, she calls you Adddaaa, that’s the beginning of your name…. we just figured it out, every time she’s with us and wants you she points to the kitchen and says ADDDDA…


I never had a child calling me with letters that resemble my name…. cause no one calls me in the house by my name.

I challenged her.

Yossi came home and told him, later that eve we sat in our room with the baby and I would go out of the room and hide behind the door, she would turn to the door and say adddddaaa…..

And how amazing is G-d, protecting me from this pain inside, easing me into this new phase like only a G-d can do.

I hugged my baby with tears streaming down my face and looked above: Thank you Nav, you always protect me!

I know eventually one day she’ll say Mami i’h, but hopefully she’ll be big enough that l’ll be able to laugh in her face and she’ll laugh straight back at me, for now Adddda is just perfect!

About the Author
Born and raised in Milan, Italy, grew up always wanting to direct, difficult choice in a religious world for a woman. She married an Israeli in 2004 and moved to Jerusalem. In 2012 they lost their third daughter Navi to cancer after a one year battle. Hadassah started writing a journal during that difficult year which became quite popular. After the passing of their daughter, they started a foundation in her name, Keren NavaRuth and Hadassah became a inspirational speaker. She also managed to fulfill her first step of her big dream and directed her first music clip for jewish star Yakov Shwekey. Hadassah is in the process of writing her first movie script.
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