Happy Mama's Day to You

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Becoming a mother changes us.

I'd like to think it changes all of us, but I'm beginning to understand that even though motherhood is perhaps the most likely thing to change our inner selves, besides Jesus himself, we don't all change.

My children have undoubtedly changed me. They have made me better, stronger, crazier in the best kind of way, and so much more determined than I ever was before them.

They have taught me love and compassion and pain. It's like I never really knew what love was until they were here, and then the way I loved them was scary. It was real and raw and pure and deep, and it scared the living peace out of me.

And fear began to creep into every fiber of my being. I was never afraid of losing anything as much as I began to fear the possible loss of my own children. And I think we've all probably been in that dark place where you feel you'll never survive with those "what ifs" running through your mind.

But slowly I began to understand that they were a gift that could at any time be taken away, but that I could also love and nurture and provide for them. I knew to be a good mom I couldn't live in fear.

I think I can speak for many of us when I say that I would do anything for my children. I would die without a second thought for the lives of my babies as I know you would for yours.

Today all I could really think about was a mother who didn't even call to talk to her children on Mother's Day. A mom who I wholeheartedly believed could change for her babies, but who I'm beginning to believe may not.

My heart breaks for our foster babies' mom. Part of me wants to blame myself. I should have been a better mentor. I should have said better things. I should have been more encouraging.

But what do you say?

I'm beginning to see that sometimes what people say and what they really believe are two different things. She says she's going to get it together. She says she's going to get a place to live. She says she's going to do all kinds of things, but she doesn't.

Our babies have been in DHS care for almost twelve months, and still, nothing has really changed. She is the mother of these babies. There is no doubt about that. She carried them both for nine long months. She delivered them. It makes her a mother.

I see her as their mother, but I don't see her as their mama. She's not. Mama is a title you have to earn.

I will never forget the day they showed up on our doorstep. It brings fat sloppy tears to my eyes just imagining it.

They were filthy after being in the shelter for five days. It's like their big blue eyes were pleading with us to love them. Just love us.

But it wasn't the way they looked that really got me. It was what one of the babies said. Bailey was just a month shy of being two, and the first word out of her mouth the moment she walked into our house was "Mama." And she was looking right at me with her chubby little arms held up for me to pick her up.

And it hurt. Stuck like a knife.

I remember thinking, "Oh baby, I will do my best to love you like your mama." And I just held that sweet baby girl.

And over the course of the next few months, I began to earn that title. There are many times that I have been extremely honest with you about how I don't "love" them the way I love my own children. It's just different.

But I love them. And we have cared for them, protected them, encouraged them, and fought for them over the last three months. And everyone has been changed because of them being here. Me being the most obvious.

These kids have puked on us; been sick; ran fevers; cried in the middle of the night. You name the baby stuff that babies do and they have done it. And those things reserved for mamas and daddys to do and fix and love became our things to do, and we slowly began to earn the title of Mama and Daddy that we were given in those first few moments.

And now, only three short months later, we are all those babies know. We are Mama and Daddy. We are their source of love, comfort, shelter, protection, and support.

And it breaks my heart. Amazingly, there are things in this world that somehow trump a mother's natural born instinct to protect her children. I don't know if you could have told me that three months ago, but now I've seen it with my own eyes. Somehow it happens. The devil has a powerful grip when he gets hold of someone.

I don't know why. I don't know who to point blame at. The devil? Generational poverty and drug use? God Himself?

And maybe there aren't fingers of blame that need to be pointed. Maybe in the case of these babies, there are praises that need to be made. Talk is shifting. There is talk that maybe these babies will end up being part of a different family. Maybe.

And maybe that's a rescue mission on God's part. I'm not sure. I don't have the answers. Especially to the tough things of life like this. But I know I don't have to. I know that I simply have to follow the lead of a God who goes before us and who has great plans for each of us, and I have to trust in His perfect plan.

I can do that.

But until then, to all you Mamas out there who have fought for your title as Mama, Happy Mama's Day to you. You earned it. You deserve it, and I hope you enjoyed today.

May you thank the Lord tonight that nothing ever came between you and your babies. I know I am. It could have been me instead of her, but it wasn't. So, I'll fight for my babies. I'll be their mama always.

.....day 275 of a year of writing.....

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