I am huge on respecting my elders. Still, I am thankful that I grew up in a place that taught me to call adults by their first names. As if their marriage status was irrelevant to holding a conversation with them. As if I was a human too, and not hoping to grow into one.
A few years ago, in trying to express to my child that I am a whole person–
not just the one who picks up his dirty socks
or the one who cooks his meals
or the one who works for his shelter
or holds his pain
or tickles his laughter
— I asked him to call me Nik, out of respect.
I wanted him to see me as a person in the world, not just a person who meets his needs.
I wanted him to understand me as human and dismantle the pedestal he had built for me to serve him from.
Not because I am afraid of heights.
Because it is difficult to hold his hand from up there.
Because I am more than his mother.
Because when he declares, “This is what a feminist looks like” I want it to be because he cares about women, as humans, not because he has a mother. Not because he is supposed to.
Because it is his truth.