I go get her, lay her on her changing table and begin to change her diaper. She reaches out to tickle me and starts giggling. She jabbers away while I change her diaper. Her daddy walks in and she points at him, "Mama! Mama!"
"That's not your mama, Mercy."
It's Sunday morning, we're at church. One of our sweet youth girls is hanging onto Mercy and she's eating a donut. She LOVES donuts. One of our sophomore boys looks over and waves at Mercy from a little ways away. She points at him, "Mama?"
"That's not your mama, Mercy."
We're strolling in the grocery store. Mercy is talking up a storm and enjoying all the activity and all the color on the aisles. A woman strolls by with her buggy and Mercy waves at her, "Mama!" Another woman walks by, "Mama?"
"That's not your mama, Mercy."
We stroll up to the cashier. She's sweet, she talks to Mercy and Mercy responds... "Mama!"
We're at Lowes, we need a new washer and we're just walking around waiting on a guy. Chris walks around a corner with Mercy. She sees a poster on the wall...
Come ON child!! Don't you know you only get one mama??? And it's not that race car driver on the poster. It's ME!! Like it or not, kid. You're stuck with me. Can I get some "mama" love?? Pleeease?
I have struggled with this. Every stranger on the street gets to be "mama." Not me. Maybe once a week or so. Maybe.
This has really gotten me thinking about why I have this inherent need to have this title.
I guess I need it because it's who I am. I need it because I carried this child, I cried by her bedside, I held her against my chest when she was just two pounds, I pumped for eight months for her, I cleaned her poop that shot three feet across the floor and onto our bed, I cleaned her spit up from INSIDE my mouth, I sat through endless hours of therapy learning new ways to teach her new skills, I snuggled her when she was sick, I held her tight when she was hurting, I cleaned vomit from her bed, her carseat, herself, at least 7 times in one day, I rocked her to sweet precious sleep, I sang to her and danced with her, I taught her how to say "mama." I loved her with my whole being, I will never stop loving her. She's part of who I am to my very core and I can't begin to imagine life not being her mama.
So is it too much to want that title? To claim it as my own? To be jealous for it?
I mean, I don't think it is.... I just... don't.
But part of me keeps questioning the importance of that word. She knows who I am and she loves the living daylights of me. No question about that. When she gets hurt, I'm the one she comes to, when she's hungry she seeks me out, she reaches her arms up and stands on her tippy toes for me to scoop her up and squeeze her tight. She reaches for my hand when we're walking and she lays her head on my shoulder when she's sleepy. Shouldn't that be enough? Shouldn't that replace my need for this word?
I don't know... Should it? What do you think?
I'm honestly conflicted.
But I think I've come up with somewhat of an answer. And I think the answer is yes. I need to be "mama." I need that guy on the poster to be some guy on a poster, I need Chris to be daddy...
...and I need to be mama.
And I think my great desire for this comes straight from Him in who's image I was created.
I think many of us know who God is. Our Creator, our Savior, our Father. That's important, HE is important. ALL that He did to bring us into His family carries so much weight and is incredibly IMPORTANT. He asks us to call only Him our God, to only use His holy and perfect name when talking to Him or about Him. And come on, considering who He and and all He's done for us, don't you think His name is holy enough for us to hold it as precious and preserve it for HIM alone?
When I was carrying Mercy and my body was failing her, HE stepped in and saved her life. While I continually fell apart when she was just two pounds, HE gave me the strength to pick her up and hold her against my chest. When my body, again, was failing her and she was too weak to get the milk from me anyway, HE provided nutrients for her to grow. When she had just been home a little while and it looked like her little digestive system was shutting down and not doing its job, HE got it moving again, all over the floor and bed! HE provided us with the world's greatest occupational and speech therapists to help her learn new skills and words, HE created a strong bond between us even when we were separated for her first seven weeks of life outside the womb, HE taught her to dance and sing, I know I didn't! He gave me the capacity to love her and showed me what that means through the way He loves me, the way He sacrificed for me, the way He gave me the world even though I could never deserve it.
He is worthy. He is GOD.
NO question about that.
So as Mercy works out her parent confusion, may this be a reminder for ME to work out my parent confusion as well... When I'm hurt, my HE be the one I run to. When I'm hungry, may HE be the one I seek out. When I just need to be held, may I stand on my tippy toes reaching my arms toward HIM. May I hold onto His hand as I walk through each day and lay my head on His shoulder when I need rest. May He be my God, and nothing else. May He be the only one I ascribe His holy name to.
You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
With your help I can advance against a troop;
with my God I can scale a wall.
As for God, his way is perfect:
The Lord’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.
For who is God besides the Lord?
And who is the Rock except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.
He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You make your saving help my shield,
and your right hand sustains me;
your help has made me great.
You provide a broad path for my feet,
so that my ankles do not give way.
Just yesterday at the grocery store, while Mercy was very excitedly showing off her football balloon to the man behind us in the checkout line, she twisted her body and pointed at me. Still looking at this stranger, with her finger pointed at me she told him, "That's mama!" That's right, baby girl. Forever.