Somewhere around the age of 30, I went from "miss" to "ma'am" in stores and restaurants. Maybe it was the wrinkles, the suits or the sensible purchasing decisions I was making, but I hated it. It was a massive leap from youth into some downward slope of old age.
It didn’t help that the first time I heard the dreaded “ma’am” I was standing in an Abercrombie & Fitch looking confused, staring through the dim light at an item of clothing, trying to make out if it was a shirt or a skirt.
“Can I help you, ma’am?”
“Yes, could you point my walker at the door please, young man?”
I wanted to be a miss again. But how? Start making questionable decisions once more, like wearing shirts with torn-off limbs? No, I’d feel like mutton dressed as lamb, and besides, a small hole above my belly button -- the inevitable war wound of a post 1990s twenty-something -- would give me away. It seemed I was doomed. I couldn't even pull off an "as if" scornful roll of the eyes anymore without seeming possessed.
Then, on Oct. 23, 2010, I took my three-day-old baby for his first doctor's appointment. I signed in and sat down. The door opened to the nurse, and she called my son's name.
We entered the tiny examination room and she said, "Ok, mom. Put Little Man on the scale please."
The heavens opened, the clouds cleared, the angels sang, and rays of sunshine beamed down through the roof of the building, bathing me in glory.
I am mom.
For maybe ten years, I have been granted respite. I will no longer be just ma'am.
I AM MOM.
Rebecca Amesbury Batisto is a freelance writer and president of Abask Marketing, a public relations firm in Fort Lauderdale. She lives in Plantation with her husband, Mike, and two small, but wild children.