I have been called “Mom” for more than 15 years by one or more of my own children, and I love it. I think motherhood is an honor, and I take issue with those who think women should be “liberated” from the “burden” of being a mom. Yes, motherhood requires sacrifice. Most worthwhile things do. And, to be frank, sacrifice is often good for us. It takes us out of our Me World and opens our eyes to the world of others. There is value in that.
Anywho, for the past two weeks, I have been called “Mom” by other mothers’ children. Three teenage girls from China came to live with us for a short time, and, from the first night, they called me “Mom”.
I will admit that it was strange at first. Soon, though, I could recognize whose voice was calling me. I laughed out loud the first time I heard them yelling “Daddy!” when my husband got home from work. My kids looked at me and smiled. We felt honored.
For two weeks, I cooked for them, cleaned up after them, entertained them, chauffered them, laughed with them, taught them and watched over them. I learned their preferences and their personalities. We made sure they were safe while shopping and that no one took advantage of their limited experience and understanding. A couple of times, I even scolded them, asking them to not stay up so late watching movies and even followed one into a public restroom stall to show her how to make sure the lining of her sheer skirt was pulled down enough to convey modesty. I felt a responsibility to protect them as I would protect my own daughters.
Two weeks is not very long in the scheme of things, but it was long enough to change who I am. Those girls left their marks on my heart—marks that will forever prompt me to pray for them, wonder about them and hope to see them again. I am a better woman for knowing them.
While they were here, I often referred to them as “our China dolls”. China dolls were once known all over the modern world as a precious commodity. They were coveted by many and treasured for generations. That’s what these girls were to me: precious treasures. They showed courage in trying everything from fishing to eating pancakes to riding 4-wheelers to husking sweet corn. They showed patience as we tried to understand what they wanted to say. They showed trust as they gave us a peek into the way they lived in a country halfway around the world. They showed love as they began returning our morning and evening hugs.
I don’t know if we will see them again, but I do know that I will do my best to remain in contact. We have a family picture of the eight of us on our refrigerator, and I know that seeing it throughout the day will prompt me to remember them and to pray for God’s peace and protection over them.
May they always remember the home they have in America.