I have two precious boys that call me mommy. They love me with abandon, and I love them with my entire heart. They are the apple of my eye and they are their daddy’s best buddies.
My two treasures are as different as night and day.
Parker is eight and is a rule follower to the core. He walks the line with ferociousness, but that’s about as ferocious as he gets! Parker is quiet, and he inherited a shyness from his mother that is hard to get rid of. Shyness is not always a good friend. It sticks close to us as a friend does, but it inhibits us from the things we love at times. It invites insecurity, doubt, and fear into our minds and hearts. Shyness is something I struggle with to this day and my little sweet Parker has the same disposition. Parker is so smart. He has a wonderful memory and usually has to hear something just once to remember it.
Peyton is six and follows whatever beat his little drum is making at the moment. He is full of sweetness and sunshine all day. Peyton is not shy! He loves to perform, whether it is on a stage or the soccer field (Oh, are we playing a soccer game right now? Sorry, I was too busy singing to the parents on the sideline!). Peyton loves to learn and he loves school. His face is so content and engaged when he is listening to his teachers. He looks just like his daddy, and, according to his Meme, acts just like his daddy did when he was a little boy. 🙂
I remember when we were expecting Parker, everyone gave us so much good advice and many words of wisdom…and words of warning. Be ready to give up sleep for awhile. Get him on a schedule right away—it’ll be easier for all of you. Start reading to him while he’s in the womb, and while you’re at it, play classical music for him while he’s in there. Pray for him. Start a journal for him. Start a college fund for him. Raise him up in the admonition of the Lord.
I smiled and nodded and agreed. Yes, I was ready to give up sleep for my baby. I was praying for him daily. I bought books for him all the time—his library was already full. I had his schedule ready to go. He was sure to follow it. I was ready. After all, I was a teacher. I was used to kids, right? Oh, and I had another bonus on my part–I had been a daycare worker! That’s right, I had worked at a wonderful daycare all through college and had even been in the nursery. Motherhood, watch out, I was about to conquer.
I remember the day he was born like it was this morning. I remember the contractions that I’d waited nine months for. They were painful, but they were bringing my baby boy closer to my arms. I remember the epidural “not taking” the first time, and not getting a second try with it until about 8 centimeters. And then, when I realized the epidural had worked the second time, thinking I was home free. Until the nurse said he was breech I’d be having a c-section! I had Parker twenty minutes later. I’d waited for nine long months, and now he was suddenly here in a matter of minutes.
My family came from all over. Really, it was like they came out of the woodwork. There were hoards of them, all ready to greet this baby. They were in the lobby and the halls, snapping pictures and cheering. They flowed into the room and gathered around him in his warmer, taking pictures and talking about how perfect he was. They loved him already. My sister came over to me and said “He’s beautiful! Hey… do you want me to fix your hair?” I realized that I looked like a train wreck at that moment and needed a little fixing up!
And then, they left. Chris was exhausted and took a nap. And it was just me and Parker. Someone had rolled his little bed up right beside me. I couldn’t reach over and get him to hold him, so I just looked at him. And he stared back at me. And it was like he knew. He knew what I suddenly realized. That I had no clue what a mother was supposed to do. I wasn’t prepared, even thought I had thought I was. I didn’t know what I was doing!
When Parker was born, I dealt with a lot of insecurities about being a mom. I worried that I wasn’t feeding him enough, that I wasn’t reading to him enough, that I wasn’t giving him enough time on his belly. I worried that I wasn’t holding him enough, then I worried that I was holding him too much. I worried that he was too hot, then I worried that he was too cold. And I couldn’t even begin to think of what I’d do when he got sick. I was, essentially, a mess.
I did have enough presence of mind to pray. I prayed for Parker, as so many people had reminded me to do. I prayed for Chris, who was way more level-headed about bringing up babies than I was. And I prayed for myself, which was probably the best thing I could’ve done. On those nights when I just really, really wanted to sleep and Parker’s baby voice came singing into my dreams (okay- not always singing into my dreams, sometimes it was more like a foghorn into my exhaustion), I shuffled to his bed and held him and rocked him (and tried not to make eye contact with him because he was wide awake and wanting to play—I thought if I closed my eyes and pretended to sleep, he’d fall asleep, too!) and I prayed. I realized that even though I didn’t feel like a mother who knew what to do, I was still a mother. I asked God to help me and to show me what to do. I asked him to take my insecurities away. I told God that I would try not to take the insecurities back into my hands once they were in His. I still ask for His help in keeping my insecurities in His hands.
And God answered me in the quiet moments of the night. He reminded me that I am His. That I am who He called me to be. He called me to be Parker and Peyton’s mother, so He is equipping me to be their mother, even when I don’t feel like I’m doing a great job. He called me to be a Christ-like example to not just my boys, but to my students at school, to my friends and family , and He is equipping me daily. He called me to be a singer, a writer, and a teacher, and He is constantly equipping me to do those things. I am nothing without Him.
He also reminded me of some other things that He calls me. He calls me worthy, treasured, and pure. He calls me friend, daughter, and loved. He calls me redeemed, saved, and changed. He calls me chosen. He calls me these things even when I am, essentially, a mess.
I find myself calling my baby boy, Peyton, a “mess” sometimes. I usually use it as a term of endearment. He does seem to get into some pretty interesting scrapes.
I have lots of names for my boys. Parkie-poo. Pate-pate. Buddy. Buddy-boo. Boo. Boo-boo. Boo-bear. Lots of boo’s. Anyway, I use them because I love my boys and they are terms of endearment from me to them. My love for them is just a drop in the ocean compared to my Father’s love for me. How many terms of endearment does He have for me?
What does the Father call you? He calls you chosen. He calls you child. He calls you changed! He calls you forgiven. He calls you friend. And He is also specifically calling you to be something that is special for you. Whatever He calls you, whatever He calls you to be, He will equip you for it. He believes in you. He made you for a specific purpose, whether it is to mother, father, teach, sing, preach, serve, build, nurse, listen,…the list is endless.
In Jeremiah 1:5, God says to us “Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you…” (The Message). He has had a plan and a purpose for you before you were even born!
When I am feeling insecure or overwhelmed by my task at hand, He reminds me that I can be just the way He made me to be. I can go just the way He is showing me. I can be who He called me to be.
Who You Called Me To Be, Paige Givens, 2014 (BMI)