My memories from nursery school are far and few, but poignant. I remember not heading straight home, but hanging around my mother’s work at the university. Her workmates were so used to having me around and seeing me tag behind her, that we gained tandem nicknames —
Mama Bear and Baby Bear
Mommy Tabs and Baby Tabs (“tabs” taken from the Filipino word for fat, “taba” — it was of course, said with affection, and not meant as an insult. Besides, we were both quite chubby that time! We still call each other that.)
One of the ones that truly stuck was —
Mama Whale and Baby Whale.
While of course, “whale” still took a jab at our physiques, it was also an allusion to my mother being an excellent swimmer, and engaging in scuba diving for her marine research. Being pregnant didn’t stop her from diving and doing her work.
Mommy enjoyed her job, just as she loves being a mother. Circumstances aren’t ideal, but I hope that, for as long as we have time together, she’ll be my Mommy and I’ll be her Baby — and incidentally, we should swim and dive together!
Happy 62nd birthday, Mommy. I love you!