How can it be possible that sixteen years have passed since the first time I held you in my arms? I waited my whole life for you to be born. I remember every detail about your birth, and often replay that day in my head – wishing I could go back and relive it one more time. You were my first-born; the one who made my dream of becoming a mom a reality. You have created a love inside of me so fierce, so unbreakable, so unending, and so unconditional. I am incredibly lucky to have been chosen to be your mom. I really must have done something right in life to have been given a child like you.

You have grown into an amazing young woman. You are that girl that I always wished I could be. You are beautiful, confident, smart, and well-liked by everyone. You shine in everything you do. Your siblings all look up to you, as well as their friends and the kids you baby-sit.

Please know how incredibly proud I am of you. I know I have been hard on you at times. I set high expectations that you sometimes feel are impossible to reach. Let me reassure you that you have never ever disappointed me. I set those expectations because I want you to achieve everything you have ever wanted. I want all of your greatest dreams to come true. I never want you to feel undeserving of anything, because you deserve the absolute best that life has to offer.

I want you to keep that confidence you have now, and continue to try new things; to meet new people. You never know what door will open if you just put yourself out there. You will make mistakes, but it’s okay because that’s how you learn lessons and become a better person. I’ve certainly made my share of them, and still make them today. Those mistakes create the path to the amazing life I have today.

To be honest, you have probably taught me more than I think I’ve taught you. You’ve taught me patience. I’ve learned that screaming at each other often accomplishes nothing except pain. Listening and biting my tongue are much more effective. I’ll probably still get upset and frustrated with you. I’ll probably still lecture you simply because I am your mom and that’s what we do. I’ve learned from you to not sweat the small things. You rarely get involved in any gossip, and never really care what people think of you. You choose to see the good in people, and stand up for others even when you are standing alone. Following your examples, my life has become much more fulfilling.

It amazes me how people are drawn to you. I can send you to a camp half way across the country, knowing nobody, and you come home with a dozen new best friends. I admire your quiet strength in the way you accept the unfair things that happen to you. You keep moving forward, never letting them drag you down.

I hope your birthday is everything you dreamed it could be. Remember how loved you are. You are my sweet baby, your daddy’s little girl, your sisters’ greatest idol, and your brother’s best friend. We will all always be here for you – your biggest fans.

Your story is just beginning. I can’t wait to watch you write it.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Tabitha Steffes

Tabitha Steffes is a freelance writer based in Wisconsin. She is a mother to five, and a wife to a hard-working farmer. Her days are filled with love, chaos, and too much Diet Coke. Most mornings you can find her up hours before her family; writing, cleaning, or going on long walks. She believes you have to find time for yourself wherever you can. She loves finding ways to simplify her life, saving her family money, and finding joy in every day things on her blog http://simplysavingmommy.com/ She can handle any kid related issue tossed at her, and is a wealth of knowledge to her friends with kids.

God Gave Him Bigger Feelings

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy on playground, color photo

He came home from school last week and asked, “Why do I get so angry but my friends never do? Why am I not the same?” And it broke me. Because he is passionate and intelligent and kind and intuitive and beautiful. He didn’t always seem different. We never paid attention to how he would line everything up in play. And we would laugh it off as a quirk when he would organize everything dependent upon shape, size, and color. He was stubborn, sure, but so am I. And then COVID happened, and we attributed the lack of social skills...

Keep Reading

We Have a Big Family and Wouldn’t Change a Thing

In: Kids, Motherhood
Four children in front of Christmas tree, color photo

I have just had my fourth baby. A baby who wasn’t expected but very much wanted and very much loved from the moment we found out. When we told people we were expecting, the response was underwhelming. The stream of intrusive questions would then ensue:  You already have your hands full, how will you cope with four? You’ll need a bigger car! Where will they all sleep? Don’t you own a TV? You know how babies are made right? People seemed to have such a strong opinion about me having a fourth child. RELATED: We Had a Lot of Kids...

Keep Reading

As a Mom I’m Far From Perfect, But I Hope You Remember the Joy

In: Kids, Motherhood
Happy mother and daughter on the beach

Sometimes, I think about the future when you are grown and I am gone. When all that’s left of me are photographs and memories. I know what the photographs will show. I took most of them, after all. But the memories I’m less sure of. I wonder what will stick with you after all that time. How will you remember me? One day, your grandkids will ask you about me. What will you say? Will you tell them I was always distracted? Will you remember that I looked at my phone too much? Will you tell them I didn’t play...

Keep Reading

Being a Daycare Mom Can Be So Hard

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Woman holding boy on couch, black-and-white photo

Dear daycare mom,  I know it’s hard.  To get yourself up before them, to make lunches, to pack the bags, to get yourself ready.  To go into their rooms, where they are peacefully sleeping, and turn the lights on.  To struggle to get them breakfast, get them dressed, and get them out the door.  I know it’s hard.  To have a morning rush when all you want to do is snuggle up on the couch and ease into your day.  RELATED: When a Mom is Late To Work To feel like you are missing out on their childhood at times...

Keep Reading

The PB&J that Saved the Day

In: Kids, Motherhood
Table with three plates of PB&J sandwiches, color photo

It was one of those days.  One of those days when your pants are too tight, you wake up with a headache, and the kids’ rooms are disasters at 8 a.m. It was one of those days when I had to physically go into Target for our groceries since I didn’t have time to wait for pickup—I think that alone should sum up exactly the kind of day it was.  The kids were hangry. The toddler was, well, toddler-y. RELATED: Toddlers Are Human Too—And Sometimes They Just Need Grace Two minutes into our shopping trip, she had kicked her light-up rain...

Keep Reading

One Day He’ll Love Another Woman More than He Loves Me

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding baby, color photo

To Benjamin, my 16-month-old son, I am everything. I am the first person that boy looks for when he wakes up in the morning and the last person he wants before he goes to bed. If he is in a room full of people he loves and I am not there, he will search for me.  If he has a problem, mommy is the solution. I am the answer to his cries. I feel confident in saying that I am the most important person in that little boy’s little world. I love it. It is an honor and a privilege...

Keep Reading

To My Sister, Thank You For Being the Best Aunt To My Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood
Aunt with three young kids

“Do you have the kids’ basketball schedule yet?” you texted the other day. I sent back a screenshot of the calendar, and within an hour you responded telling me which game you’d be coming to. It was a simple exchange, but I was overwhelmed with gratitude for your love for my kids in that moment. It’s something I think often but don’t say nearly enough: thank you for being such an amazing aunt. Truly.  I know it’s not always convenient. You live three hours away and have a busy, full life of your own—but still, you show up for your niece and nephews...

Keep Reading

In Defense of the Stubborn Child

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy hanging over dock, color photo

“Lamp. Lamp. Laaaaamp,” my 2-year-old son screamed while stomping his feet. Tears were running down his face and snot was dripping dangerously close to his mouth. I put on what I hoped would be a soothing, motherly tone, “Okay, just calm down.” While trying to maintain eye contact, I slowly reached toward the tissue box. This must be what the greats like Jeff Corwin, Steve Irwin, or the Kratt brothers feel like when facing a volatile animal in the wild. The sound of a tissue being pulled from the box caused the crying to stop abruptly. His eyes flitted toward...

Keep Reading

Dear Stepdaughter, You Aren’t “Mine” but I Love You as My Own

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter hug

First off, I love you. I wasn’t there the day you were born or when you got your first tooth. I wasn’t there when you took your first steps or learned to pee in the potty. But, I have loved you since the day we met, and I’ve been there for every moment since. I’ve given you baths and eventually, taught you how to shower on your own. I’ve brushed your hair, clipped your nails, and taken care of you when you’re sick. I’ve tucked you into bed and kissed you goodnight, held you when you’re sad, chased away your...

Keep Reading

I Was Meant to Be a Boy Mom

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and three boys, black-and-white photo

When you’re a little girl, you dream of the day you can pass all your Barbies and dolls on to your daughter and continue that same form of make-believe, to play dress up, do their hair, and go shopping with . . . at least I did.  You grow up, fall in love, get married, and decide to start a family and all those same emotions come rushing back about all you’ll do with your baby girl. You cut open that cake and the blue frosting peeks through, and you’re so excited that you forget all those girl dreams. You...

Keep Reading