It has been almost 28 years since I've called anyone "mom". It was a title I held so dear that I never ever could have uttered that word to anyone but the woman who gave birth to me. I was hostile and bratty to anyone I felt encroached on that territory. I had many women pour into my life and fill some of the gaping holes but I knew I would never again know the love of a mother. I will probably mourn that loss for the rest of my life.
When I became a mother myself I found myself wondering in my lack of mothering if I would be able to be a good mother, I had held that title in such high regard despite my own anger toward my own mother. I knew I wanted to do everything I wished she had done. Thankfully mothering has been the thing that has come the most naturally. I know I was created to be a mother. I remember being giddy the first time Luke, Ben and Hope called me mom. I yearned to hear Isaac and Asher utter that word.
With Jacob, it was uncharted territory, it didn't all come as naturally. I had walked into the hospital room that HOT April day and my heart fell to the floor as a beautiful woman, tears streaming down her face, body still broken from giving birth, a mother in her own right, handed her son to me and I became his mother. Each time he calls me mom, even when he says it as though it is a curse word, my heart breaks and soars. I am so grateful and the heartache his first mom must feel every day isn't lost on me. There isn't a day that doesn't go by that I don't think of her and one day Jacob will understand his story and I can only hope he will see how much she loved him.
Lily came to us as a foster child, so for almost two years, the goal was to reunify her with her first mother. I remember feeling so conflicted when she started calling me "mama". I had no idea if she'd be a part of our family forever or if she would return to the mother she knew first, or if she'd ever remember me if she did. As time passed it became more clear that Lily would stay and I am without words for how grateful I am to have the honor of being her mom.
Our youngest foster child is now 8 months old. She has this week started looking at me and saying "mama". My heart breaks each time she says it because it is VERY likely that she'll be going back to her biological mother. I love her to pieces but I pray each day that the Lord places her just where she belongs and it is quite possible that IS NOT in our home...but today, I am her mom. I will do everything I can to live up to that title to her for as long as she is here and I will miss her like crazy when and if she is gone.
Today I did respite for another sweet foster kiddo. She is two. She immediately started calling me "mama". This took my own children my surprise. They asked me why on earth she was calling me "mama". Tears started inexplicably rolling down my face. It occurred to me that like me, they would likely never entertain the thought of calling anyone but me mom. They on some level get the sacredness of that title. They know that mom means someone who loves you no matter what and will fight tooth and nail for you. She'd give her own life for yours.
This sweet two year old...her definition of mother is very different, her first mother did not protect her. She was taken from the only mother she'd known and been taken into foster care and showered with love by a new mom and she's spent a few days with me here and there and now she calls me mom. The tragedy of this is not lost on me, foster care is SO hard. It is so hard on all parties, but it isn't harder on anyone than the children living it. Being a mom is the highest calling I can think of. The fact that I get to be "mom" to any of these kids for even a day is a privilege I cannot describe. I sometimes cannot fathom how someone as broken as me could possibly be used for His glory. Every time I hear someone call me "mama", I am reminded that He is JUST THAT POWERFUL. In his weakness we are strong and in Him we can do ANYTHING.
So...I will love with all I have and let go whenever He calls...it seems to be the theme of this life.
Love, let go, repeat.