LEBANESE SOUL : my book-in-progress about that « miracle » of still feeling Lebanese, despite decades out of Lebanon !
Chapter 4 :
YA MAMA (OH MUMMY) :
BEING CALLED « MOM »… BY YOUR OWN MOTHER !
I call my mother on the telephone, to arrange for a lunch we are having tomorrow together. When saying goodbye she tells me :
- Goodbye Mom ! I kiss you Mom !
Yet « I » should call her ‘Mom’… not her !
Lebanese people are like that : fathers call their children « Dad » (Ya Baba) and mothers say « Ya Mama » to their children - even when they are grown ups and are more than 50 years old !
Similarly, an old man will call you « Ammo » (my uncle), using the same familiar name YOU are using with him to show your respect to him… even if you are 7 years old. And even if your are a girl !
I like it when my mom calls me « Mom » - she says « Maman » in french, which is our language at home - and already was when we were living in Beirut, like other westernized and french-speakiing Lebanese families.
By calling me « Maman », I understand that my mother has kept her Lebanese identity deep inside her, despite almost half a century away from Lebanon ! Does your mother also calls you « Ya Mama ? », even though you have been living in the USA, Canada, Brazil or Australia for decades… and are a mother or a father of one or several children- or even a grandmother or grandfather ?!!!!
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