You were the one who first gazed down at me, counting all 10 fingers and toes and memorizing every detail of my face.
You were the one who first recognized the distinct sound of my cries and knew my needs before I even knew how to voice them.
You were the one who first really saw and knew me.
I was with you nearly every day of my childhood, but I never really saw you as clearly as I see you now that I’m a mother myself.
I saw and heard you teaching me so many things, creatively sparking my interests, but I didn’t really see all the mental, physical, and emotional energy you put into being a fully present mom.
I didn’t think twice as I saw you praying and reading your Bible each morning, preparing breakfast, and sending dad off to work all before starting another long day fully investing in us as a homeschool mom.
I see now how much you gave and sacrificed and persevered—every single day.
I remember you teaching me how to read and telling me Bible stories on our rust-colored couch, drawing and painting with me, showing me how to sew clothes for my American Girl dolls, cheering me on as I made new inventions out of toilet paper rolls and oatmeal cans.
Then I blinked, and here I am in my mid-30s watching you do the same things just as enthusiastically with my own children.
I remember you refused to answer the phone during those times because your priorities were with us—totally present with us. In this world where phones dictate so much of our lives, I realize now how meaningful it was that you prioritized time with us like that. And it means so much that you do the same for your grandchildren.
I’m an adult mother myself now, but have I ever told you I want to be like you when I grow up?
Because even though I saw you, loved you, and admired you then, I really see you now.
I want to grow into the beautiful woman I grew inside of—the one whose life was forever changed and shaped by my existence and mine by hers.
I want to look in the mirror and see the reflection of her smile and heart there.
Because, mom, yours is the voice I hear in the background of so many of my childhood memories—the voice that ultimately led me right to Jesus’ heart as you reflected Him to me.
Back then, I thought I understood how much you loved me. But now I deeply understand the immeasurable love of a mama that no child can understand until they have a child of their own.
Thank you for seeing me in a way no one else ever has. It helped shape me into who I am: a mama who loves her children more than they could possibly see or understand.
I’m thankful I see you more clearly now.