This would have been back during college, I think, although to be honest, events from the good ol' Comunidad Agua Viva (CAV) days have all started to run together in my mind. What I do remember clearly is this: a group of us were heading down to stay at Dustin's house for the weekend, his parents were out of town and had allowed us to take residence in their house. I think we were down there to visit the Granger church and have a nice weekend away from things.
We traveled in two cars: one with Dustin, Eman, and I, who arrived at the house first, and then another car which came later. Since this was, as I said, back in CAV days, we were all running on what we called "CAV time," which meant that it took a really, really, really lonnng time for the other car to show up, or it at least felt that way.
For some reason, as soon as the other car showed up, my inner Madea voice (think Diary of a Mad Black Woman), which until this date I had not realized existed, suddenly welled up from within me. As my friends walked in, I greeted them with a hearty, "My BABIES!"
They instinctively replied, "MAMMA LAURA!"
And thus Mamma Laura, and of course, my babies, were born.
This spread to the rest of the church pretty quickly, and may be one of my favorite nicknames (and I have a lot of them, let me tell you). I mean, how great is it to have a 50-something (ish?) Hispanic guy named Uriel give you a hug and call you Mamma Laura?
I have (nearly) no exclusions to who can be one of my "babies," it just means you are my friend. One day I might make buttons, or bumper stickers, or something.
I have to add at this point, since the birth of the first CAV ministry team baby two years ago (one Rocky Bolton), to further add to the nonsensical nature of this nickname, I have had the title "Aunt" added in - so now I am often called Aunt Mamma Laura by my friends (my babies), and possibly, one day, by their babies, when they are actually able to say that many syllables at one time.