adoption, family life

Learning what mothering really is

For almost three years now, I’ve mothered Lindsey. I’ve cooked meals + washed clothes + set up dentist appointments + driven her to activities + made her clean her room + took care of her when she was sick. Lindsey knew she missed out in her early years on some of what a mother does, but it never occurred to her that “mothering” means those things, but far more.

She and Ken quickly developed a good father-daughter relationship, and that has grown and deepened. She doesn’t always like all his fathering (and protecting), but she loves her Daddy. She and I, on the other hand, easily anger each other, and some days just being in the same house is hard.

Over these three years, though, there have been a few times when she has come to me to talk, to hug, to cry. We’ve had some meaningful talks. On those rare times, it feels like a mother-daughter relationship should. Those times feel good — but still so rare.

And I wonder if my influence matters at all; I wonder if she’ll ever understand what mothering really is.

Ambulance Ride

Saturday morning, just before a JROTC performance at the local Air Force base for Academy Day, Lindsey woke up surrounded by EMTs after passing out and hitting her head on the concrete floor, and immediately cried, “I want my Mama!!!” She kept on, and told them my name, and I had no idea why the speaker at this event was calling my name in front of these hundreds of people and cadets and military men and senators, but I stood and went up front and they took me to her. I helped calm her down, I answered medics’ questions, and I rode in the ambulance with her (as Ken followed behind in the car).

Several hours and several tests later, she was sent home from the hospital with a big bump on her noggin (and an even bigger headache), and she is fine.

At some point in the midst of all the chaos that has given me more gray hair, it occurred to me that it was me she asked for. Not Ken. Not anyone else. She asked for her mama, and she meant me.

So I think, maybe we really are making progress.

Maybe she’s learning what a mother really is.

Multitudes on Monday

1264 – dinner with all 3 kids, plus our soon-to-be daughter (in law)
1265 – helping stamp and seal Brandon and Diane’s wedding invitations
1266 – serving again at the soup kitchen
1276 – watching hummingbirds while I sit on the back porch
1277 – Ken rescued a nuthatch from inside the bird feeder
1278 – both girls are excited about signing up for fall homeschool enrichment classes (even Lindsey!)
1279 – my Fun Mama post was featured on BlogHer
1280 – finishing our homeschool year
1281 – a new (used) car
1282 – Lindsey is okay
1283 – she asked for me
1284 – I don’t freak out in a crisis
1285 – my own mom, and the example she set for me in what mothering means

Thank you to all my mom-friends — and my own mom — who inspire me.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Oh my goodness! What a scary moment that must have been! I am glad she is okay, and glad for you that something special came out of it. Happy Mother’s Day, Jamie!

Christine Niles

Wow…I’ve felt so many of these same things with our second daughter. Thanks for sharing your moments of hope!!! And SO glad that Lindsey is OK!


What an awful experience. But such grace out of it. Those moments when my babies are scared and call out for me are some of the moments that I feel God’s plan the clearest. Holy Smokes! They mean me! I am their Mama, their comforter, the pillar that stands in the midst of the unfamiliar and shows them it’s ok. You are a great Mama and Lindsay will call out for you and you will answer. It’s what we do.


So thankful that Lindsey is okay–and that you kept calm through it! Way to go. What a blessing. You are a great mama, Jamie–hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day. 🙂


So glad she’s ok, Jamie! Sounds like a beautiful moment!


Of course she wanted her mama! You’re the one who would know best how to help her, and she knows that. That’s a tough age for moms and daughters, no matter what the family history. Hang in there!


Oh Jamie…that’s awesome! The part about her getting hurt and being scared is not so awesome but it’s huge that she called for you, wanted you. It means everything about her starting to really know what a Mother’s love is. What a Mother’s Day gift!

Thankful she is okay.


This made me cry. What a scary thing– but what a blessing. Constantly I am reminded how God uses the worst experiences of our lives to bring about the greatest growth.

I’m so glad she’s all right. 🙂

Brenda Torres

I so related to this. We adopted our daughter from foster care at age 3 1/2. We spent so many months trying to get her to learn “stranger danger.” Because of her attachment issues, she would go to anyone, sit in their lap and call them mom. On the day of her adoption, we had a house full of family and friends for a reception. I was on the opposite side of the house, and heard my daughter yelling, “Mommy.” I came out into the living room to find her crying my name, weaving her way through all of the… Read more »


Oh my goodness! Praise God that Lindsey is all right! AND that she’s starting to look to you more for mothering.


This is such a touching story, thank you for sharing it and for your open-ness and honesty.


Those are the mothering moments that are hard but good…and what a blessing to you that she called out for you in her time of need!

You brought tears to my eyes. I’m so glad Lindsey is okay.


I guess it goes down to our nature. We all know that the stereotype for mothers is that they are there to take care of us and give us comfort, while a father’s role is to protect and to provide. Nonetheless, it was one touching moment.

Monica Fuller

That’s so fulfilling for a mother to be wanted by her daughter at her side. It’s a relief that Lindsey is okay now, I wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to my daughters. Well, all mothers are.

Claudia Perez

Oh! Mother is really irreplaceable. You can replace anything ut not your family. Some kids get mad at their parents but they don’t know that even if they hurt their parents, their mom and dad is still always there for them.


Jamie, I’d say you are most certainly making progress in your relationship. My mother has told me for years, “No one loves you like your mama does.” When Lindsey was hurting and frightened, she wanted YOU. Something in her spirit responded to the connection that’s been growing between the two of you. What a blessing. And I am so glad she is fine!


Oh Jamie… what a gift you have given her – and really what a gift you are to each other.

God bless you!

jonnia smith

Oh, this made me cry! So glad everything worked out this way.
You know, I never fully understood or appreciated my own mother’s love until I had been a mother myself for a few years. Then I was floored at the enormity of it and how I had gone so long ignorant of its full measure.


This made me cry…the good kind of cry. I’m glad she’s okay, and that in that you were able to see the depth of her feelings for you. Bless you all!


Tears…oh j am so inspired by this…beautiful. praise you father God!
Thank you.


Thank you for this. We are fostering to adopt a 14 year old girl (4 months in) and my biggest struggle is that we don’t get along that great–although she does get along well with my husband and son. Its a mother-daughter I well remember having relationship troubles in matters of the will with our bio daughter at that age (now 19) and also the fact that I missed mothering her for 14 years and she would rather mother herself! Then she wouldn’t ever have to clean her room or do the dishes! It gives me hope that it… Read more »