My son, Victor, loves to give nicknames and they usually stick. He is Fishy, his twin brother, Oliver, is “O-leach,” my husband is Lollipop, and I, sadly enough, am Momma Jumbo.
When he first heard it my husband smartly stifled the laugh when he saw the fierce look in my eyes.
“Shut up, you’re Lollipop,” I snarled.
Why Momma Jumbo? We watch every Disney movie and while female characters are less common, there are still plenty to pick from. I do not “fit” the traditional princess mold in appearance or attitude so I understand why I didn’t get Cinderella or Snow White (even though I have dark hair). If he was stuck on a cartoon character there was Jessie from “Toy Story 2," or heck, I’d even take Dory.
My son shook his head. “No,” he said. Those names were not right.
My four-year-old son does not know about my life-long pre-occupation with my weight and my crazy body image issues.
He does not know that I have always felt fat even when I was not (although in case you are wondering, I am actually leaning more towards the fat end of the spectrum so I am a bit more sensitive to the whole Jumbo moniker). He doesn’t see the look on my face when I step on the scale or when I try on a pair of pants hoping that the size twelve will fit and the utter look of devastation when I realize I need the fourteens instead.
He doesn’t know that even when I am thin as I am so tall I always feel large. He does not know that I have secretly longed to be petite like a Disney Princess, to be the type of woman who is easily swept into the arms of her lover.
When I jokingly ask my husband to pick me up I see the momentary look of panic on his face.
So Momma Jumbo is hitting a bit too close to home. Regardless of actual physical size, most women do not want to be analogous to an elephant, especially one called Jumbo.
I sigh and ask him, “Why Mama Jumbo?”
He looks me straight in the eye and says, “Because Mama Jumbo loves her baby more than anything in the world and that’s how you love me.”
I am speechless.
Momma Jumbo it is and I am proud of it!
By Jennifer Gunter