Momming is a form of care I like receiving and giving. This is the short narrative of how I conceptualise it.
I did something one day before my Dad was coming to visit me in Berlin. I had not seen him since New Year’s. I did the thing I did because I knew I could no longer not do that and I firmly believe that the knowledge of my Dad’s imminent arrival helped me follow through with it. Earlier that week when I was struggling with making this decision and following through with it, I had a nice long Skype call with my parents. It was a very sunny day and I was sitting at the library between two sessions of the workshop I was attending. There was beautiful sunlight falling on me and I was in a good mood. The day before I had some coke and the drop was although not bad, eased by His -P.’s- presence. Yet it had somehow made it all even more clear that I had to go through with what I went through the week after. He was in my head the whole week, much like during that Skype call. I was distracted with the unavoidable and I was in a way binding my time. I had not said anything about him to my parents. Except for some passing mentions of this friend of mine. I also did not mention him during the Skype call.
Yet Mom knew. At least, it was what she told me when I was crying at the airport. Originally, she had not planned to come along with Dad because they did not want to leave Grandma alone at home. But after seeing me over Skype, she knew, only in the way that moms do, that I needed her. So she bought a last minute ticket. I was so very grateful. She did not say much later about her reasons either. Honestly, neither of us could tell how she knew. I thought later it was the power of my prayer. I started praying recently in Thailand. I had wished for something very specific, to find the strength within to go through with what I felt I had to with Him. The morning I did what I did, I did it knowingly that I found the strength I had wished for. Later in the evening, among other things, I wished for the strength to go through with my decision decently. Next day, Mom came.
You see, I grew up being loved like that. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Mom is perfect. She is special, just as anyone’s mom is. She cares about her kids and her family. She is a provider of many things. But this quality of her, knowing that she is needed without so many words, is not a commonplace trait. It is in her way of momming and I appreciate that probably more than any other trait of hers.
Funny enough, I think I have that trait. I know it is not of much worth when I say I have it and I do not claim that I have it to the level that Mom does but I have in the past found myself display that trait when I really love and care for someone. Today, I decided to call it momming.
It does not happen at every moment but sometimes I pick up this vibe that this person needs me to care for them. It happened once with Him. He called me one morning when I was sort of mad at Him from the night before. I did not hear His call. Half an hour later, we texted and He said that He called me to ask if we wanted to have breakfast together. I asked Him if something happened and He told me that everything is ok but He spent the night at a stranger’s house and that He does not remember them or how He got there. The friends He partied with left Him there after too much drinking. He blacked out. I knew then and there that He needed me. He did not have to write much and even though I was mad at Him, my concern for His wellbeing got the better of me. I invited Him over, knowing how much He dislikes His own place and aware that He would not be able to find the comfort He needed there. It was not niceness and I was really not expecting anything in return but to provide for a friend I cared about. In retrospect, I think it was the first moment, I acted selflessly for Him and the first moment I realised that I cared about Him as much as I did. I am not sure how much of it he would confirm now but when He came over, I could see the distress in His face and in the way that he was holding his body. He even smelled off, like spoilt milk. Of course, I did not tell Him that. He lied on bed and asked me to cuddle Him, play with His hair and neck. He said it felt like home here. I am not sure if this was the first moment when He mentioned the word mom for me but he did later say that I was like a mom sometimes. I guess He was right but then again, I keep realising that it is a tendency I have that grows out of intimacy and care.
For the sake of honesty, I need to tell you that it felt hard for me in that moment to be cuddling Him. You see, He had cancelled our first play date and for reasons that are beyond the scope of this text, it had left me feeling like he took me for granted, which we later discussed. So cuddling Him, although within the limits of care, felt like it was crossing my emotional borders, which I failed to tell Him.
It is a funny feeling to see a grown man needing such seemingly insignificant things; some space, a bed, his neck hold, his hair pulled. It was a moment of not being able to adult or of adulting taking such a toll that one needs this form of care to get back on one’s feet. I think we all need that from time to time. I do. This is why I think I am capable of providing that. I started adulting alone very recently; only after I realised in October that my move to Berlin meant I left Istanbul for good. I had no longer a home or a Heimat and I had left my family behind. Not their love apparently but their physical presence. My chosen family/close friends or my net to fall back to were scattered around the world. I was alone.
He was not the only recipient of my momming, although I practised on Him the most. I have this dearest friend K. whom I once wrapped up in bed sheets like a burrito, because I knew he needed that after that early morning texting with his boyfriend back home when we left the club. It was when I listened to a voicemail left by one of my best friends, E. who was two continents away, that I knew she needed my advice in a deeper sense than she said. Although my physical presence was impossible at the time, I know that I could be with her in writing.
Yet this is one of the hardest feelings. It is hard for me to realise that I am capable of loving someone like this. It might be misunderstood or misused. Being able to give this care, makes me feel that I am special for the person capable of receiving it but I am so very afraid of providing this for the wrong person. One who would take it as granted and cast it away. I am so afraid of letting the wrong person in like this that emotional intimacy scares me. Yet I like being scared, almost masochistically, because only then you know if this person was worth it.
I felt at many different moments similar things for close friends. I cannot name all these moments and not all of them were of the same intensity and clarity. I am still learning. I am learning how to do momming better, not because it is something sexual, on the contrary, much like niceness, it is something I want to provide for my loved ones. Maybe not always to the same extend but surely when it is needed.