To celebrate Mother’s Day, I wrote a little something for Joseph, my sweet little buddy who made me a mama.
Joseph, I began being your mama the moment I saw your blurry picture on that sunny September day. Though I wasn’t with you yet to wipe your tears or change your diapers, you were with me. I tucked you in a hole in my heart. A hole just your size. A hole I didn’t know existed until I saw you.
When I held you for the first time, your chubby hand wrapped around my finger, I began being your mama in a whole new way. I felt my heart get heavier, knowing that I would never be able to stop being your mama. Not ever. Not when you strap on a backpack and I walk you to kindergarten for the first time. Not when you come home with a failing grade in seventh grade algebra. Not when you get your driver’s license and I watch you drive away from our little nest. I will never stop being your mama.
Being your mama has shattered my heart into shards, only to be put back together, stronger.
I’m learning that being your mama is a continuous cycle of my heart beating, breaking, and being rebuilt.
I’m not sure of anything more beautiful than being your mama. Of watching you take your first steps on the hard concrete kitchen floor in an apartment in Lagos, Nigeria. Of wiping pureed carrot from your chin as you tried baby food for the first time and weren’t quite sure what to think. Of carrying you on my back as we trudged back and forth on the red dirt roads, waiting on your visa to be approved. Of changing a dirty diaper in an airplane bathroom at 2 a.m., as we flew across the Atlantic Ocean, just me and you. Of riding the airport escalator down to a crowd of family and friends waiting to welcome you home.
Being your mama has meant a little hand rubbing my back when I’m feeling tired and sad and like I’m just not a good enough mommy. It has meant tiny feet pattering across the hallway, sneaking into our bedroom, because you just want to cuddle. And Daddy and me being okay with it, because you won’t be this little forever.
Being your mama has been a privilege, an honor, and a blessing. I am thankful for your first mama, the mama who carried you for nine months and gave you life. I bet you got your adorable dimples from her. I bet she prayed that God would find you a mama who would be yours for always. To kiss the bridge of your nose and rub lotion on your toes after bathtime.
Being your mama has meant laughing with you in happy times, like when you squealed with glee as you slid down a slide for the first time. Being your mama has also meant being brave with you in scary times, like when you were very sick in the hospital, and I climbed into the crib and we slept there together. Being your mama is holding you tight on my lap as you get your blood drawn, crying as you cry, because when you hurt, it hurts me, too.
I’ve learned that being your mama is wading in many unknown waters, not knowing all the answers, but committing to navigate life’s choppy seas with you as I try to teach you to cling to the only Lifesaver I know.
Being your mama has meant memorizing Cars 2 and every episode of Curious George. Holding your hand and running to the potty, only to be seconds too late. Chasing you with a tissue when you desperately need to blow your nose. Singing “You Are My Sunshine” and reading the Choo Choo book again, and again, and again. And eating Pop Tarts for lunch, just because.
Being your mama has meant shutting my laptop as I write this post because you asked me to play cars and trucks and trains with you. And then stopping my writing again as served me plastic hot dogs from your kitchen, and then again when you brought me your pretend hammer and nail, climbed on my lap and fixed the table where I was writing.
I’ve never understood forgiveness and grace quite as much as I have being your mama. You are quick to forgive me when I’m tired and grumpy and raise my voice louder than I should. You show me grace when you shower me with hugs and kisses and cuddles despite my many shortcomings. You teach me more about the nature of God than many devotionals ever could.
Joseph Henry Craig, being your mama has been an adventure that I’m beyond thankful to embark on with you.
I love being your mama, little buddy.