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Hi. I'm Caroline's Mom.

Today was just another blizzard condition day in UpState New York. I'm pretty sure I saw Puxatawney Phil roadside building a snowman as we crawled home from work. As the wind shield wipers creaked rhythmically back and forth, we listened to NPR's "Frrrressh Air!"-today's broadcast an interview with a writer and his son who is a recovering meth-amphetamine addict.

During one part of the interview the father described a brain aneurysm he had amidst his son's drug addiction. While he could not remember his own name, he repeatedly asked the nurses to call his son to make sure he was ok. When he could remember almost nothing about himself and his life, this father knew was he was a parent and his child needed him. When all he had was pure instinct, his inner parent became more prominent than his own identity.

If I meet a new daycare staff member I often skip my name entirely and introduce myself as "Caroline's mom". Why do I need a name when I can just be Mom? Hobbies, friendships, obligations and work fall between the cracks of diaper-changing, cheerleading, food-making, bath tub giving and nose blowing. At one time I was so proud to be a runner, to finish a race or to add an extra mile to a jog. I'd brag to the guys at work about my weekly mileage. Today at work I bragged (to a guy, shame on me!) about Caroline's monumental first steps, "From 2 to 14 in the hour before bedtime!"

A lunch date to catch up with a good friend is now a rushed tell-me-everything-in-15-minutes while continually picking up the tossed creamers, jellies and utensils and changing between "Uh-huh, oh, really, that happened at work? How interesting. " and "You hungry? You eat. All done?"

Remember that friend who never returned your calls during the first six months of a new relationship? The friend who couldn't go anywhere in public without bringing the boyfriend along and after a while, stopped going out entirely and opted for movie nights in on the couch? They now have a name for this, Bennifer, thanks to a former celebrity couple. I am that friend. My identity as Melissa does not exist. I am Carolissa. Melissaline.

I'll be back. I know the honeymoon period of parenting will end and Melissa the friend, the colleague, and maybe even the runner, will return. I will be able to tear myself away from motherhood for long enough to do something just for me. But I guarantee you, when I'm out on that lunch date with a friend, I'll be the first to turn my head in the direction of any child's voice in the room who calls out for her "Mommy".

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