Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Mom by any other name...

When Steve and I answered questions about our story, our family, and our relationship last month, we got a lot of questions about what the kids call us. We were both in agreement that we both eventually wanted to be Mom & Dad, but we would let the kids call us that on their own terms and in their own timing.

I remember when Steve and I were dating, our oldest asking him what she would call me if we got married. He, of course, told her that she could call me whatever she felt comfortable calling me. Then she asked if she could call me Mom. When Steve called me up to tell me that, it brought us both to tears.

Then when Steve proposed to me and orchestrated his amazing plan of having everyone important in my life be present, the girls really wanted to be a part of it and were unable. But, they asked if they could write me letters for the day since they couldn't be there. I collected letters from everyone that day, including theirs, but in the chaos of the day didn't get a chance to read them all until later that evening. We opened a letter written by our second oldest that very simply was addressed to "Mommy" - a beautiful, simple, 8-year-old expression of unconditional love. Steve and I sobbed together for a good 10 minutes over the implications of our sweet little girl and how she innocently and unknowingly filled our hearts and brought our family together in such a unique way.

Well, I really thought it would take the girls awhile to adjust to actually calling me Mom. And I was ok with that. But it didn't take long at all, maybe a few weeks, before they started sneaking it in here and there. Every time it made my heart leap.

We had only been home as a family for a few weeks to finally get adjusted to a schedule that they ended up spending some of their summer time visitation with their biological mom. I thought for sure that the time away might make them take a step back in their comfort level with calling me Mom. I was ok with that too.

But something shocking happened. No sooner had they hopped in the car after intense hugs and kisses from being gone for 2 weeks that they were calling me Mom. Only this time, it wasn't sporadic - not like before when they were testing it out to see how comfortable they felt with it or how I would respond to it (I always tried to be cool about and not make a big scene about it, even though my heart always did a little touchdown dance) - this time it stuck. And it was beautiful music to my ears.

Steve and I exchanged knowing glances. And giant smiles.

There's something about hearing your child say "mama" for the very first time that could just make your heart burst. I used to always tell Faith and Caleb not to call me Mom, that it was strictly "Mama" or "Mommy" while they were little - they weren't old enough to call me Mom yet! I wanted to hold on to those days knowing I wouldn't get to carry that title for long.

I had no idea how meaningful or sweet it would be to hear the word "Mom" apply to me. Maybe not from the children I carried in my womb, but these beautiful girls that I carry in my heart, that God has entrusted me to love and care for. These two children who were so desperately searching for that connection and bond that they were missing, and feel their walls come down, feel their trust in me, and know that something very special was happening. Hearing them call me Mom means so much more. There's so much healing and hope in that word. It's the beauty that only a blended family could produce.

Come to think of it, I absolutely adore the title.

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