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The World is Mine

My husband has given over 101 nicknames to our two-year old son, Max.  Each tag has its own tale that can easily melt my heart and while many of these titles, especially when announced in my husband's Slavic tone, sound like they belong to mythical legends, not one of these identities contain our widely visible definite article: the.  

Oddly, my husband's native Serbian tongue actually excludes the use of arguably the most commonly used word in the English language.  I honestly hadn't paid much attention to the hidden value of this word until Max began to articulate his own verbal conquest and as his toddler language expansion moves rapidly to conquer phrases, adjectives and pronouns, I find myself a bit concerned that without definite Serbian counterparts, certain meanings may get lost in translation.

With the start of preschool and more social development with his English speaking peers, Max has seemingly launched a few non-verbal strikes against Serbian.  Although my husband continues to firmly engage with Serbian, Max who was once more comfortable with his Serbian voice is now eager to demonstrate his English achievement.  Language experts argue that children of bilingual homes are more than likely to play some degree of divide and conquer tactics in making one language dominant over the other and this approach becomes especially significant in conquering parental territories, where one parent speaks the language of the outside environment.  Luckily, his many nicknames are perfect pingbacks for Max to return to his Serbian discourse but I have to wonder if he might unknowingly search for unknown treasure.

In Greek Mythology, the Gods reward mortal good with opportunities for prosperity.  The challenges test our human ability to seek out these moments and determine their true meanings.  The popular hero Theseus is credited with finding the only possible path to the center of the Labyrinth and heroically freeing Athens from the belly of the Minotaur.  As I examine the many detours in our maze of English and Serbian, it appears that the Language Gods may have mysteriously taken away a single article but graciously awarded us with the parallel translation of my and moj.  This gift is exhibited in Max’s endeavor to take ultimate possession of the pronoun regardless of language assignment. "My toys, moje patike, my fire truck, moj video, and (a personal favorite) moja Mama!" Max's dominant stance reminds me that the Gods made these two words of the same world, on purpose.
When were first started dating, my husband shared many stories of his childhood trips to Greece and Macedonia.  I remember thinking, Macedonia?  Ancient Greece, Macedonia?  Alexander the Great, Macedonia? Aristotle and Plato, Macedonia?  I hadn’t even thought about that region off the pages of my ninth grade World History textbook.  Greece is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa and in his conquest to conquer the world, Alexander the Great or Aleksandar Veliki as they say in Serbia, manifested cultural diffusion, where he joined the different elements of various cultures and even incorporated them to coin new languages.

A labyrinth is unique in that is has one route to the center but Alexander is great because he used his many gifts to conquer new territories.  Under the guise of his many titles, perhaps Max too will be heroic on his own path to great acts and good deeds.