Today, Soccer Boy called me Mama for the first time. And the second…and the third.
The first time I thought was an accident. We were in the drive-thru at the bank, and they were talking about biking when we got home. He said, “Mama bike?” I wasn’t sure if he meant was there a bike for me or if there was a bigger bike or what.
I let it slide. Probably just an easy way to describe the bike in the garage.
The second time was at bedtime. The boys were crazy and exhausting. I thought for sure they would go to bed right away after a late night the night before, but no.
Giggles and pounding of feet.
I know that *I* am getting more comfortable as a mama to these two boys because I felt mother-guilt. Do I let them run around and bond? Do I spoil the fun and force two over-tired boys to lay still? Neither one seemed like the right answer. Both?? How does one do both?
Then. “Mom! Mama!” Feet down the stairs. And he was in my arms. “Mama!! Little Man ahhh!” *points to the toy in Little Man’s hand and mimes that he got hit in the face with it.* He had bitten his lip and it was bleeding a little.
I hugged him and fixed his lip and told myself that he was being emphatic because he was mad.
So we went upstairs and I read them stories. Soccer Boy was playing with a toy at first, and he wanted my attention. Instead of the normal slap-tap on my shoulder or the I-want-something grunt I usually get, he said, “Mama. Mama.” And I looked and he showed me what he was doing with the toy.
And I knew.
This wasn’t a desperation ploy or a descriptor. This was a choice. A clear decision that he made. I am his American mama.
I kissed him all over his face when I finally put him to bed.
His affirmation said, “Soccer Boy is patient.” And he looked at me with a knowing half-laugh because he knew it wasn’t true. He struggles with being patient.
He’s right. He’s impatient. And demanding. And he knows what he wants, and wants it right now.
Just like his Mama.
But we are both patient in a different way. We might be busy and social and outgoing and seemingly confident, but it covers deeper layers of who we are. Trust and faithfulness and consistent love are the only things that will give you access to those places. And continued connection and care are the things that keep you there.
Waiting to see if someone warrants that access takes time. And patience.
And I know that a Mama-name means I have gained his trust.
I won’t squander it.