The Gift


“What will he call you?” my mother asked when my wife, infant son and I visited her earlier this year. She wanted to know how our son, Ilan, would address us.

My mom is 82, an exile, a flexible Catholic like most Cubans, but I’m pretty sure that she — like me — never imagined asking such a question.

“Well, I suppose he’ll call us whatever he wants,” I said, grateful for her interest, “but for now, we say ‘mama’ for Megan and ‘mami’ for me.”

My mom nodded. Such a simple question, really, but such a milestone. My wife Megan and I had already noticed that, good intentions aside, the elderly women in my family — and there are many — were struggling with how to articulate my relationship to my son.

Read the rest…

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