Walked past one woman, short hair, rough cut leather jacket, clothes too big – but I smiled at her as I crossed the road and she said, 'Hey, Momma.'
I replied, 'Oh no, I ain't nobody's Momma much as I'd like.' Kept on walking.
She said, 'Hey Momma – I'll bet you sure is somebody's momma, maybe you just don't know that you love'em just like they need a momma to love'em.'
Then the crossing was done and I walked on but her words were left banging in my head for an hour or so, til I sat down to write this.
My friend Amibeth is 29 years old, married less than a year to a good man. Her momma just died, meaning she's now going to be Momma and Sister to 4 teenage girls. Four teenage girls who just lost their momma by birth, the youngest is 11 years old.
My friend Cathy is in a love with a man who has 4 daughters of his own, 2 full-grown and two halfway done growing. She's a momma in her heart, through and through – unable to have kids of her own but these ones came to her through love. She wouldn't dream of turning that gift down.
My friends who've wrestled with infertility, hope, grief, second chances and loss line up around the block.
And then there's me – somebody's momma, because somebody needs loving the way that a Momma loves. Firm, kind, true, hard, long but not easygoing.
My momma is a wild woman – full of love, kindness, fire and wind. You don't ever want to mess with her. She is relentless in her love, in her demands, in her generosity. She gives 'til she's turned inside out.
I long to be a fierce, soft, kind, hard momma like my mother is. Full of wisdom and laughter. To make a game of every rainy day, fill little bellies with nourishment and imaginations full of wild dreams. A house filled with music, giggles and the rustic, endless noise of making little humans into fully grown people. It takes a lot of noise to do that.
But I wait. I press my motherhood and love into nieces and nephews, adopted sons and daughters. I change nappies, sing lullabies, play games and cook dinners, teaching young souls how to make magic with salt and heat. I press motherhood into the teenagers my house is filled with, that cram my Sunday mornings with Saturday night mischief and I long, long, long… for motherhood to be my daily occupation.
Woman on the street says, 'Oh, you somebody's momma, they just don't know it yet.'
I pray, woman on the street, that you are right and that my kindness might endure until I find them.
We are, so many of us, enduring, waiting, mothers by surprise, mothers by envy, mothers by striving – but all of us, Mommas.
Tash McGill is a writer and digital strategist who has been involved in youth ministry for 15 years, working in local churches as a volunteer and bi-vocational youth pastor. She is passionate about adolescent development, community formation and hospitality.
Tash McGill's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/tash-mcgill.html