Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

She slept right next to my bed every night for months, just close enough so I could reach out and touch her tiny body wrapped snuggly in blankets from her grandmothers. I could have moved her into her own room earlier, but she was my last baby, and I knew enough to appreciate the little coos she made in her sleep and relish the warmth of her body nestled against mine.

A mother can never have enough time.

She spent her infant and toddler years attached to me either in a baby carrier or on my hip or in a stroller. Her twin, slightly-older sisters didn’t quite understand that she was breakable, so it was easier to keep her on me then risk anything happening to her, so her title of mama’s girl was easily cemented. Because watching three babies was daunting for even the most skilled grandmother, she came with me wherever I went—on short trips to the grocery store and longer ones for weddings and funerals. She lights the room up wherever she goes and is such an amicable companion.

A mother can never have enough time.

Through the years I’ve watched her heart grow as fast as her long, lean body. Her first instinct is always compassion, whether it’s on the field, in the classroom, or at home. I see how she carries the weight of the world on her slight shoulders, but I also see how her bravery grows in lockstep with her years. I have no doubt she will change the world.

A mother can never have enough time.

And last night I said goodnight to a child, my baby, and woke up to a smiling teenager. She now easily looks me in the eye and her feet are too big for my shoes, and although I feel like I did not waste a minute of time with her, although I feel like I did all the things and was at all the places, it still isn’t enough.

A mother can never have enough time.

Now, as I watch the young girl sitting at my kitchen counter eating a birthday doughnut, I can also see the young woman she is becoming. And I know the time we spend together under one roof is heading to a close. I find myself praying I get to see the rest of her story unfold. I hope she has beautiful experiences completing her education and finds lifelong friends. I wish for her to find a partner to share her life with who is caring and loving. I want to see her have children of her own.

It doesn’t matter if you only know you are pregnant for a moment or you live until you are one hundred. It doesn’t matter if you stayed at home with your kids every second of every day or only saw them for a few hours because of work. It doesn’t matter if you adopted them in their teens or used fertility drugs or if it was a planned or unplanned pregnancy.

It doesn’t matter if your heart is full of gratitude for every moment of messy parenting or you get frustrated with the chaos. It doesn’t matter if your baby has babies of their own or if you are holding your newborn in your arms just after you delivered her.

When you see how swiftly time moves, when you feel the shift in your relationship, when you know that a part of your life, that part of your identity, is changing and coming to an end, it is gut-wrenchingly beautiful. And although I know we have so much of her story left to write together, it is bittersweet knowing we also can’t go back to where we were.

A mother can never have enough time.

You may also like:

Dear Teenagers, Be Patient While I Let Go

Dear Teenage Daughter, I Will Be Right Here Waiting For You to Come Back

Want more stories of love, family, and faith from the heart of every home, delivered straight to you? Sign up here!

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Whitney Fleming

Whitney is a mom of three teen daughters, a freelance writer, and co-partner of the site parentingteensandtweens.com You can find her on Facebook at WhitneyFlemingWrites.

Moms Take a Hard Look in the Mirror When Our Girls Become Tweens

In: Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Mother and tween daughter reading

We all know about mean girls. They’re in the movies we go to see, the television shows we watch, and the books we read. These fictional divas are usually exaggerated versions of the real thing: troubled cheerleaders with a couple of sidekicks following in their faux-fabulous footsteps. The truth about mean girls is more complex. Sometimes, they aren’t kids you would expect to be mean at all: the quiet girls, sweet and innocent. Maybe she’s your kid. Maybe she’s mine. As our daughters approach their teen years, we can’t help but reflect on our own. The turmoil. The heartbreak. The...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Love is the Best Medicine

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child lying on couch under blankets, color photo

When my kids are sick, I watch them sleep and see every age they have ever been at once. The sleepless nights with a fussy toddler, the too-hot cheeks of a baby against my own skin, the clean-up duty with my husband at 3 a.m., every restless moment floods my thoughts. I can almost feel the rocking—so much rocking—and hear myself singing the same lullaby until my voice became nothing but a whisper. I can still smell the pink antibiotics in a tiny syringe. Although my babies are now six and nine years old, the minute that fever spikes, they...

Keep Reading

Here’s to the Saturday Mornings

In: Living, Motherhood
Baby in bouncer next to mama with coffee cup, color photo

Here’s to the Saturday mornings—the part of the week that kind of marks the seasons of our lives. I’ve had so many types of Saturdays, each just a glimpse of what life holds at the time. There were Saturdays spent sleeping in and putting off chores after a long week of school. And some Saturdays waking up on the floor in a friend’s living room after talking and prank calling all night. I’ve spent many Saturday mornings walking through superstitious pre-game routines on the way to the gym, eating just enough breakfast to fuel me for the game, but not...

Keep Reading

From a Veteran Special Needs Mom: Don’t Lose Hope

In: Living, Motherhood, Teen
Woman making heart symbol with hands

When my son was newly diagnosed with autism, I was reading everything—the good, the bad, and the ugly. So much so that to this day, I can barely handle reading anything on the subject because I overdosed so badly on it. I went through a grieving process as all families do. Grieving my expectations, hopes, and dreams. It was during this time that all hell broke loose. My child, like a lot of other people who experience autism, has a lot of other psychological and medical issues that interact with his autism. The combination of all those things led to...

Keep Reading

Right Now I’m a Mom Who’s Not Ready to Let Go

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter hugging, color photo

We’re doing it. We’re applying, touring, and submitting pre-school applications. It feels a lot like my college application days, and there’s this image in my mind of how fast that day will come with my sweet girl once she enters the school doors. It’s a bizarre place to be because if I’m honest, I know it’s time to let her go, but my heart is screaming, “I’m not ready yet!” She’s four now though. Four years have flown by, and I don’t know how it happened. She can put her own clothes on and take herself to the bathroom. She...

Keep Reading

They’re Amazing Grandparents but They Were Great Parents First

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
Grown woman with her parents

My parents are phenomenal grandparents. They are without a doubt my children’s favorite people. They show up to babysit with activities ready. They pick up the kids from daycare and go straight to the ice cream shop. They are the first ones to get on the floor and play cars or dress up when requested. They read the best bedtime stories and spend the extra few minutes tucking in tiny toes and kissing chubby cheeks. They’ve never missed an opportunity to spoil their grandbabies with too many toys and lots of love. But before they were the world’s best grandparents,...

Keep Reading

Raising a Teenager Is a Long Walk through a Tunnel

In: Motherhood, Teen
Two people walking down tunnel, color photo

So much parenting advice asks us to envision bridges as a metaphor for finding the path forward–bridges we need to create now during these tumultuous teen years to build connection with our kids and pave the way for a brighter future when they are adults. Bridges that override the lonely chasms created by chaos and tension. Bridges that link us together from one season of family life to another—from the island of childhood to that of adulthood. Bridges are regal, durable, and confident. They touch the sky with grandeur. They are exciting and powerful. When we ride over a bridge,...

Keep Reading

This is the Bittersweet Goodbye to the Baby Years

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Little girl pushing toddler brother in baby swing, color photo

Last August, I had my last baby. Oof. Even typing those words makes my heart ache. There’s something so final, so sad, so unreal about acknowledging the end of having babies. Maybe it’s because I’m the type of person who likes to keep all the doors open. I love possibilities. I hate goodbyes. And this, my friends, feels like a very hard goodbye. When I think about being done having kids, it feels like a goodbye to the baby years. For six years now, all I’ve known is the baby years. And while the baby years can drain me and...

Keep Reading

Each Child You Raise is Unique

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three little boys under a blanket, black-and-white photo

The hardest part about raising children? Well, there’s a lot, but to me, one major thing is that they are all completely different than one another. Nothing is the same. Like anything. Ever. Your first comes and you basically grow up with them, you learn through your mistakes as well as your triumphs. They go to all the parties with you, restaurants, sporting events, traveling—they just fit into your life. You learn the dos and don’ts, but your life doesn’t change as much as you thought. You start to think Wow! This was easy, let’s have another. RELATED: Isn’t Parenting...

Keep Reading

I Didn’t Know Anxiety until I Knew Grief

In: Grief, Living, Loss, Motherhood
Woman crouched on ground by waterfront

If you had known me for the first 45 years of my life, you would say I was an extrovert. I loved going places, meeting new people, and striking up conversations with all ages. I talk a lot, often sharing too much in the way of being transparent. It’s been said that I have never met a stranger. Yes, I will admit, I am that woman you see in the grocery store line starting up conversations with the people around me. A few years ago, my life started changing, and I struggled with becoming introverted. Though I had once loved...

Keep Reading