I am Chris’s mom. I am Jack’s mom.

The other day my husband and I went to our favorite breakfast joint. It is a small establishment with only eleven tables, so if it is busy, there is always a wait. Sunday was no exception. The dreadlocked, tattooed young waiter approached me as I held up two fingers. He then asked, “Is it okay if I just write down “Jack’s mom” on the list?” The thought made me grin. The boy had played travel soccer for a few years with my youngest son, and both were talented terrors on and off the field. “Sure,” I replied. Jack’s mom.

I have had many aliases throughout the years: my maiden name, my first married name, back to my maiden name, and my current last name. As a teacher, I was called Shu and later, Mrs. Mac, but my favorite names were always “Jack’s mom” and “Chris’s mom.”

The boys’s friends always called me that. “Chris’s mom, can Chris come out and play?” “Jack’s mom, can I have a snack?” “Chris’s mom, can I speak with Chris?” I will never forget coming home from one of Jack’s birthday parties at McDonald’s when the boy in the back seat said, “Mrs. Jack’s mom, I feel sick,” and then proceeded to projectile vomit all over my little white car. Mrs. Jack’s mom then spent the next few hours scouring the floor and seats of said car and using an entire bottle of Febreez to eliminate the smell of upchucked cheeseburger and fries.

When Kody asked if I minded being called Jack’s mom on the waiting list, I couldn’t argue, because that is what I am. Yes, I’m a wife, a sister, a daughter, an aunt, a grandmother, a friend, but I will always be a mother in my heart, despite the miles and the messes and the growing pains and the misunderstandings. These boys are my first thoughts when I wake and my wishes before I sleep. My love for them is undefinable, deep, precious, and unyielding.

I am Chris’s mom. I am Jack’s mom.