As I drove down Portage Ave on Thursday after lunch, the van was quiet. Cassidy and I both deep in our own thoughts, until the question came:
"Mommy - what did your name used to be?"
I was pretty sure I knew what she was asking, but requested clarification, to be sure.
"I mean, what did other kids call you when you were little?"
As I tried to explain to her that they called me the same thing my friends today call me: 'Becky', it struck me how far into my new name I've fallen.
If I am remotely within earshot of any one of my 3 kids, every question, thought or statement begins with those three little letters (and a questioning tone). M-O-M-?
I remember when my first born was around 8 months old and all day she would say 'da-da-da-da-da-da.' I would repeat back to her 'ma-ma-ma-ma-ma.' I was so anxious for the day she would look at me and say it with full knowledge of my name: Mama. Months later when it rolled off her tongue so easily, she reached her pudgy arms out to me with tears on her sweet cheeks and she called out that name, my heart almost burst - could it be? Am I really Mama?
Almost 9 years have gone by and I've had the joy of teaching 2 more little souls my name. But truth be told, there are days when it's not the easiest name to be called.
"Mom, what's for dinner?"
"Mom, you know that girl at school...."
"Mom, Ethan's driving me crazy..."
"Mom, where's my..."
"Mom, is it true that....."
"Mom, where are you? Mom? MOM?"
"Mom, I'm just getting a drink..."
"Mom, do you want to hear a blow-by-blow description of the movie I watched at school today?"
[the answer to that is almost always: 'no, thank you.' and 'why are you watching movies at school anyway?']
I love my kids - and I'm so thankful that I'm able to be a mom. I don't underestimate the value and privilege that is.
But if that was my whole identity - where would I be when the kids aren't around? When they no longer need to say that name a hundred (thousand) times a day; when they've found there own calling and are going on their (hopefully) God-led journeys?
I would be lost!
The Good News is that I have another name.
Here are some of the other names I claim as I follower of Jesus:
My role as Mom has changed a bit over the past 9 years, and I'm well aware that it will continue to change. I expect one day I'll hear my given name much more often than this name I've heard dozens of times already today. I'm quite sure that I eventually I'll be wishing to hear my kids say my name - to tell me all the things that are on their hearts. Oh, Lord - may it be so! But I praise God that the name HE has given me will never change!
"In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory." Ephesians 1:11-12