The Origins of Buffalo Boys, Vandals, Man Babies, Homing Pigeons, and Eagles

The Origins of Buffalo Boys, Vandals, Man Babies, Homing Pigeons, and Eagles

The buffalo boy smell is very distinct.

Sunshine and sweat, with a hint of fresh cut grass and a little musty dirt and you, have a spicy, pungent smell only a mother could love, err… tolerate.

It knows one discretion.  Pixie’s get a sunshine smell, vandals get the buffalo boy smell.

Our two adopted sons, the vandals, are 3 and 5-years-old.

Our two biological sons, the man babies, are 17 and 18-years-old.

Brothers from other mothers, the two pairs are very different.  Or maybe I am just old.

Back in the day, the man babies weren’t Vandals.  They were not mischievous or pugnacious.  Maybe it was because their older Pixie sister had such a presence.  She was calm… easy going.  Maggie, our first born was so utterly chill, when she was three she threw a temper tantrum in Target, the behavior was so unlike her…

I took her to the emergency room.

She was diagnosed with an unremitting want of a Barbie.

That’ll be $1209.00… and your dignity.

My best friend’s husband always joked that they weren’t raising homing pigeons… they were raising eagles.

Of all things parenting and all things most unfair, the transformation from being the purest love in a smelly boy’s life to somewhat tolerated and occasionally compulsory… is literally the worst.

When I left to speak in Dallas this week the vandals stood by the door and lamented my departure.

The five-year-old pleaded, “But I just want you to stay here wif me and keep twelling me you loves me…”  The three-year-old concurred, “Ya mommy, stay here and eat cheese and Fwosted Fwakes wif us.”

And I am not stupid.

The man babies love me, but honestly, provided they have plenty of soft-cheese and Frosted Flakes, they don’t need me anymore.

The younger of the man babies is still a hugger and occasionally I can tug on an ear, the older of the two is consistent in his cuddling preferences.

No touchy.

Even as a little baby he refused to be rocked and he never latched on to nurse.  Even the breast-feeding consultant was mystified by his repulsion to my bare bosom.  If he could have spoken I swear he would have said, “Good grief, cover yourself woman and get me a freakin’ cup.”

I know, I sound like I am complaining.

I swear I am not.

The essential sting of motherhood is that you invest every bit of yourself… heart, soul, hopes, dreams, dignity, privacy, budget, and sanity.

And then… you’re done.

Your services are no longer needed here ma’am

The stories of smelly boys, naked in the sandbox are not welcomed memories to man babies.

They are embarrassed or irritated with the sweet accounts.

And they would you prefer you not share them with their Marine recruiter – please.

My heart is fully engaged.

And I had a good cry this afternoon.  The man baby leaves for Marine Bootcamp in 19 days.

I was driving his old Ford and I was slain by the memory of him in a car seat in this same vehicle… 219,000 miles ago.

How does this happen?  How does a cherub turn into a man baby… and what will the man baby be like as a Marine?

So I took the opportunity, all by myself, yet never alone to fall into the arms of my Jesus.  We recounted the journey and cried and laughed.

I am grateful to have raised an eagle… I am delighted to surrender him further from the nest.  I am not a helicopter mom and we didn’t raise snowflakes.

But I will miss him.

My children walk in the favor of the Lord.

He is for them.

He is with them…

He came to give them life abundant.

The nature of an apple tree is to produce apples.  The nature of the Spirit I taught my babies about is to produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

He’ll take it from here.

And I am all good, comfortable in the arms of a Savior who loves them, although it seems impossible, more than I.

I’ll do this again, a lady-baby will be a bride, a foster-love will go home, a vandal will become a man-baby…

Still, He is for me.

He is with me.

And He came to comfort me and give me life abundant.

[clickToTweet tweet=”He came to comfort me and give me life abundant. #momlife” quote=”He came to comfort me and give me life abundant. #momlife”]

I am a mom filled with the spirit, therefore it is my nature… to love.

Motherhood is a joy.

It taught me patience.

I know they remember the kindness, I pray the outbursts where I threatened to sell them or kick their lungs out are fading; replace with the goodness of bedtime stories, grilled cheese, and chocolate chip cookies.

The spirit encourages me to remember the faithfulness…. The hope – believing He will stay with them.

The gentleness of my touch might fade – but it was there when it mattered.

And while self-control hasn’t been my nature, I will fully rely on the Spirit to contain the emotions that will keep me from going backwoods, ape crazy when one a piece of my soul boards a bus to become a Marine.

If that doesn’t work out, I am sure you can catch the actual event on the 6:00 news or on YouTube.

Even from my jail cell, tightly wrapped in the comfort of my straight jacket, banned from all activities in the 50-states involving the United States Military…

He is for me…

He is with me…

And He will restore that which completely gets away from me when my nature… Mom… loses her ever-loving mind when her eagle takes flight.

May your floors be sticky and your calling be MOM.  Love, Jami

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23



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  1. Don McKelvie on March 3, 2017 at 5:17 am
  2. Rhonda Basta on March 3, 2017 at 5:19 am

    Beautiful Jami <3

  3. Jessica on March 3, 2017 at 5:48 am

    Sometimes, thinking about my children, I find it hard to breathe … like all the air has been sucked from my lungs and I’m drowning.
    At least now I can revel in the fact that when my man-babies hug me they smell like their handsome poppa … instead of a buffalo! The lady babies still smell like flowers after a spring rain.
    No matter how many times I threatened to tie them to a fence post and let the coyotes eat their toes, or put them in a box to ship them off … they only remember digging in the garden, riding pigs, chasing chickens, and Momma reading Hank the Cowdog …. I love my babies! Oh doodle water everywhere…

  4. Ruth on March 3, 2017 at 6:56 am

    Wow, all I can say is Wow, in between sobs. This hits home so much for me. Thank you for saying it.

    What happens after Mom?

    • jami_amerine on March 3, 2017 at 7:06 am


      • Chris on March 3, 2017 at 10:12 am

        Yep Grandma is next. And the love multiplies.

      • Jacqui on March 3, 2017 at 5:17 pm

        I was a grandma at a very tender age, 37. Now my grands are 11, 17 going on 25 and 21. Though I loved and helped raise them, they too are getting so independent (except the 11 year old who at the ripe age of 3 told me “just the facts grandma that’s all I want to know”) now I am the ripe old age of 57 and the grands have outgrown me. How does that happen? My arms ache from the lack of hugs and baby vomit. It will be years till the oldest grand will give me her first offspring. Oh how this soul aches for the babies.

        • jami_amerine on March 3, 2017 at 7:44 pm

          Come on over friend…

  5. Amber on March 3, 2017 at 7:04 am

    Amen :'(

  6. Kimberly on March 3, 2017 at 7:12 am

    I love watching you go through the man-baby journey. My oldest is 14 and it’s tough watching them fly a bit (although still in the nest for a few more years). Incidentally, I’ve been having those same visions of him in his car seat in our minivan (which I call the Space Shuttle). We are about to get an upgrade after nearly 300,000 miles and all of us are a tiny bit sad (I am definitely MORE excited than sad, tho – right now the heat works. All.The.TIME! Usually in Pennsylvania in February this wouldn’t be an issue but it was 78 degrees last week and I felt like my ankles were melting! Today – 3″ of snow and a school delay. Whatever.).

  7. Kim on March 3, 2017 at 7:46 am

    Not many mamas are in the same place if raising little ones and launching big ones at the sane time. I so appreciate another Mom in the same spot. I am a mom of 4 – an adoptive mom, a biological mom, a mom who walked through infertility and miscarriage and loss, and a mom, now, of children ranging in age from 4 to 19. It’s mind-boggling! I love your perspective.

  8. Joelle on March 3, 2017 at 7:59 am

    So good!

  9. Julie on March 3, 2017 at 9:00 am

    I totally understand these emotions!! I was a single parent from the time was son was 8. He is an only child so we did everything together. Up until he started driving and dating – I was the center of his world. I did not find Jesus until he was almost 18 ☹️.
    As a teenager he and his best buddies hung out at our house. The day he started leaning away from me was heartbreaking to say the least.
    Today he is 31 (I’m 57). He is married and has 3 children (10,6, and the youngest is 17 days old). He and his wife are not walking with the Lord but my 2 oldest grandchildren come to church with me.
    Hang in there momma. Your Marine man baby still needs you and he will come to realize that quite possible in boot camp.
    Praying for you in this parenting transition. Blessings!

  10. Brenda on March 3, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Thank you for the morning smile and laugh. I’m the single mom of 2 fourteen year old boys and I’m feeling the pain of these 2 turning into “manbabies”. I want so bad those two little sets of grubby hands reaching for me at the most inconvenient times. Thank you for the reminder that I’m raising eagles not pigeons. Cause, truth be told, if they keep coming home to roost in the future I’ll probably have to move and not leave a forwarding address.
    Thank you for following Gods call on your life and sharing it with the world. You make a difference, (at least in this frazzled mom’s life.)

  11. Terry K. on March 3, 2017 at 11:08 am

    After both of our bio children joined the Marines, my husband and I spent two years as empty-nesters. We were NOT good at it. That’s when we started fostering. When my husband passed away in February last year, my now-adopted 8- and 9-year-olds became my whole world. I will probably keep fostering until I am too old to hold babies, because I love both the buffalo and the pixie smells. Jesus sustains my soul, and those kids keep me moving! Hang in there, momma. You can do this.

    • jami_amerine on March 3, 2017 at 11:09 am

      I love you. ❤

  12. Glenna McKelvie on March 3, 2017 at 11:53 am

    I swear he is only 12!

  13. Patty on March 3, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Awesome! My “man baby” is 19. ❤️

  14. Monte on March 10, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Excellent post. I used to be checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed! Very useful info specially the final part 🙂 I handle such info a lot. I was looking for this certain information for a very lengthy time. Thanks and good luck.

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