I remember my mother endearingly calling me “munchkin”. Looking back over my childhood, I know I was so loved because of the small fact that my mom chose to nickname me. I was her munchkin. The last of her babies, and well loved. As an adult, I still have this inner child that squeals with acceptance when my mom mutters “muchkin”. Of course, she only uses it when she’s being reflective, but I don’t care.
When you were in the womb I called you “monster”. You were like a caged gorilla, and even though I didn’t know your gender, nothing could convince me you were a girl. But, upon meeting your face, I needed to adopt a new nickname. Your father calls you “bubba”, your grandparents call you “pumpkindoddle”, what about me?
Yep, Mensch. A funny little name, isn’t it? I don’t remember where I first heard it, but I instantly knew it was you. See, mensch is actually German for “man”. It’s all that I not only hope you to be, but how my specific relationship affects you. I pray, dear, that you grow up to be a confident, strong man. I pray even more that the Lord equips me with the high task of shaping you into being that man. It’s a strange role us moms have. I’ve never been a man (insert shock). I don’t know the first thing about them! Ok, ok, I know a few things…thanks to your father, but every day he surprises me too! So how is a WOman suppose to guide you? A silly thing indeed! Maybe when I utter Mensch I am hoping for some sort of spoken word transformation…that I can literally speak it into life. Maybe it’s my reminder that you will not always be my tiny man and to cherish each moment it have with your pudgy, bowling ball figure. I could add so many reasons why and I am sure each passing year will give me a new reason to love calling you Mensch. And you know, I am learning to give my fear that you will be anything but a strong man to the Lord. You have a great example right at home. What? No, not me! Your father! It was his masculine character that drew me to him. He is not your typical man. He would chop wood and build a fire every night. He would grow a 2 ft beard and live in the mountains of Colorado. (so typical) But, over and over people comment how gentle he is. He storms through the door after work and nearly trips over toys as he finds you to kiss you. He rubs my feet every night and truly wants to hear about my feelings. He laughs and loves me deeply as I scream at the cricket scurrying across our floor. He is a man. A gentle giant. I will be so proud if you are any kind of Mensch like him.
So, child, to end… I love you. I will love you always. Never grow up, but if you must, please be my gentle Mensch.
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