Mom. A special and yet generic name that’s not even capitalized in a sentence when used indirectly. But when it comes from the mouth of your child, then it’s a proper noun. It carries with it the idea of protector, nurturer, nighttime comforter, teacher, admonisher, nurse, prayer warrior. Mom is often the one who has the unique privilege of rocking her babies while the rest of the house sleeps. Mom is normally the one who thinks about birthdays, gifts, talents, struggles, extracurricular activities, friendships, and heart issues during the day, and at night when she should be sleeping. The name Mom means so much when used by your child.
That’s why it hurt. In a deep, never been experienced kind of pain when I heard her utter that name for someone else.
I don’t even remember the context, but her little voice from the furthest back seat sighed and said, “I wish my mom were here.” She waited a moment and then corrected herself, “Oh, I mean my birth mom.” We are not shy about her birth mom. We’ve read her adoption story to her since she was a baby. We pray for her birth mom. She’s seen a picture. I write her birth mom letters four times a year and send pictures. But she’s always been birth mom. And for some reason the added word before mom acted as a buffer to a pain I didn’t know was there until I heard my daughter refer to another by that special name.
I was thankful that I was driving. I was thankful my tear filled eyes were on the road so she couldn’t see them. The last thing I want to do is make her feel restrained about her feelings toward adoption. I want her to feel openness in our relationship. I don’t want that openness to be a farce I put on in the name of being open, but rather the natural consequence of an unconditional love and mutual respect.
This scenario in the car got me thinking. She’s only six. She’s still processing adoption, and probably will be doing that for some time. I’m praying she feels peace and acceptance at some point. I know that peace will only come from her identity in the One who created her. She needs peace from the One who makes families. The One who chose for her life to begin in one woman and to play out in the arms and eyes of another.
I’m reminded of the woman who lives in another state. The woman whose facial features are like finger prints on my little girl. This woman matters. She is not a fictional character, but a key piece in our family’s story.
At the end of day, this pain was good for me. Good In an eye-opening kind of way. Good in a drive me to my knees kind of way. I’m sure there will be more incidents in the years to come. My little girl’s feelings, questions, and musings are important to her becoming the woman God created her to be. It’s my job as mom to guide her faithfully on that journey.