Angel here and hearing my children say the word "mom, momma, mommy, or ma" for the first time was one of the most beautiful sounds in the world.  What about when it's not your own child?

Thinking back to my childhood I remember my nieces and nephews always called my momma "Mom" but it didn't sound the same as when I said it.  They used that term instead of Grandma or granny or grandmother.

My mother raised half of her grandchildren and some kids that were not even family and loved them as if they were her own. I don't think it ever bothered me that they called her mom because I knew my place in her heart.

I always thought wow she is incredible for never hesitating to take in a child that is not her own.  I wasn't sure I could ever do that.

Fast forward two summers ago.  I am the mother of five;  Two teenage boys, one precious Angel baby in heaven, and two littles.  I am married to the man of my dreams and things are perfect or at least our idea of what that looks like.

Our family had been helping another family we were close too and this mother comes into some issues we can't discuss causing her children to need a place to stay.  Two of those kiddos are placed in our home very fast and without much time to adjust for any of us.

You always think you know how you might handle a situation when it arises but I can promise, you are never prepared for it.

We were blessed with Marcus (11) and JoJo (2).  They already knew us so that made it a little smoother.  The nights were the hardest.  Lots of crying and asking for mommy and wondering when they would get to return home.  I didn't have those answers.

After a month, lots of cuddles, crying, more cuddles, laughing, and a new normal for everyone things seemed to be running better.

I'll never forget the first time JoJo called me "Mommy" I froze.  Literally dead in my tracks and a lump developed in my throat.  I was picking her and Charlotte up at the sitter and as she always does Charlotte leaped off the couch and screamed "Mommy" and so did JoJo.

I know she was just following suit with what she heard but goodness that will do something to your heart.  I reminded her of my name but she insisted on calling me mommy so I didn't correct her.  I knew she knew I wasn't her mommy but for the time being if it made her precious heart comfortable calling me that then I was ok with it.  I hugged her tight and told her how much I had missed her that day.  Letting her know she was missed and loved helped with the transition of being left each day at the sitter.  She knew without a doubt I was coming back for her.

Charlotte didn't even seem to care.  She would tell people that JoJo was her best sister and the girls loved having one another.

It was not an easy summer.  We battled all kinds of emotions.  Not just from the kids but also from ourselves.  I said it earlier you can never prepare for what comes with taking care of someone else's child.

I remember lying awake at night crying and praying God would fix it all.  I loved those babies but they were not my children.  I knew upfront they needed to go home to their momma in the end.

What I did learn from it all was being called Momma did not diminish the role of their mom in the least.  They knew who she was and that she loved them very much it was evident.  It was a gift from God.  He placed someone else's babies in my care to watch over.  What an honor.

I was what JoJo needed in a very difficult time in her life.  When I googled the definition of mother this is what I found in an article from hellomotherhhod.com:

A mother is a protector, disciplinarian and friend. A mother is a selfless, loving human who must sacrifice many of their wants and needs for the wants and needs of their children. A mother works hard to make sure their child is equipped with the knowledge, skills and abilities to make it as a competent human being. Being a mother is perhaps the hardest, most rewarding job a woman will ever experience.

I think this is the perfect description of what a mother is.  All mothers look different though.  God made us and equipped us for different things.  At the very time those kids were placed in my home I became what they needed me to be.  Even if I tripped, stumbled and struggled from time to time.

And looking back it never took away from my own children.  Somehow my arms grew wider and my heart bigger.  We made ends meet and our home became big enough for extra little mouths, hands, and feet.

Dare I look back and say I miss it?  Thankfully, I get to see those sweet children on a regular basis and love them just like I did two years ago.

I am now Angel.  And the sound of my name is just as sweet as "Mommy" once was coming out of her mouth.   I know she is safe.  And when she leaps into my arms when I visit I remember our special times.

I am grateful for those months even though extremely hard they blessed our family and changed us all for the better.  My kids learned to sacrifice and a greater love of others.

I never planned on being anyone else's mommy.  God's ways are always different than ours and His thoughts not our own.  Thankfully he knew exactly what we all needed and in his own perfect time.

We have stayed close with momma and before I decided to do this story I asked her if it would be alright to share photos and memories from our time with the kids.  Her response "I know you love my kids and they are like yours too.  We are family."

She is so very right.  Over the years I have learned family is not just something you are born into.  It is the people who have come into your life, loved you in your struggle, and never left your side.

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