I held you before I even knew you existed, little one.

I held you within my body. I held you when the only evidence of you being there was a combination of waves of debilitating nausea, aches in my back, and two colored lines that proclaimed your presence. I held you through pregnancy, which sometimes made me feel like I was dancing across the clouds, and sometimes made my body feel so heavy and anxious and weary and that it simply could not hold anything, not even the weight of my own soul, any longer.

I held you in my arms. I held you while you nursed, while you slept. I held you while I bounced, while I rocked, while I swayed. I held you while I cried and wondered, how does anyone do this? How will I get through it? I held you when I was so, very tired of all the holding. I held you while I cried and mouthed a silent prayer of thanks to have been gifted with you. I held you so you could eat, so you could rest, so you could feel assured that you were safe, you were loved, and you were home. When your fragile little body settled into my arms I felt you melt. I watched your fists unclench and I leaned into your downy head as you burrowed with familiarity into the curve of my neck.

I held you, loosely perched on my hip, or slung onto my back, while I went about my day. By then, we were like two pieces of a puzzle, made to fit together without any thought or effort. Without even noticing it sometimes, I would find myself swinging you up there—your place, your seat on my hip, your viewing deck onto my world. I held you while I stirred the simmering ragout on the stove, while I pushed a trolley of groceries, while I hopped onto a bus, while I carried your sister in my burgeoning belly and despite strangers’ looks of surprise that I was still complying to your request of, “Mama, carry you.”

I hold you now, after you give me that look that says you think you might be getting too old to ask for it, but when I can, I will keep saying yes. I will keep on holding you, no matter how big you think you’re getting, no matter how bashful a glance you throw at me as your arms stretch upwards, and no matter how far up those arms can now reach.

The bittersweet twist of this story, my darling, this story of you and me and how very much you need or want me to hold you when you’re young, is that I hold you, sweet baby—I hold you, close to my heart, I breathe you in and grasp onto you as closely as I can—so that one day, you’ll know it’s OK to let go.

I hold you so you know I am your home. I hold you so you can venture with courage, so you can dive in headfirst into your life, so you can someday walk so far down the path that you end up somewhere you, or even I, have never been.

I hold you so even if you turn around and can no longer see that well-worn path leading back home, you will know with unshakeable faith that your home still stands. Your home is still there.

I hold you so you know when the world is too much, when you feel afraid or ecstatic, when you feel overwhelmed or overjoyed, when you feel a sadness so deep in your soul or a bliss that invigorates all of your senses and sets you alight, you can come right back into my arms.

And baby, I will hold you. Even if you no longer fit on my lap, even if you’re a little bit embarrassed, even if you have a job, or a mortgage, or a little one of your own who needs you to hold her.

I hold you so you know I am here, every step of the way, whether that step is the first one those spongy feet have ever taken or a step you take with such confidence and self-assurance that you don’t even think twice about me or whether you might need my help.

And until then, baby, I will hold you, and I will keep holding you, for as long as you need.

You may also like: Don’t Let Me Forget Their Littleness

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

Her View From Home

Millions of mothers connected by love, friendship, family and faith. Join our growing community. 1,000+ writers strong. We pay too!   Find more information on how you can become a writer on Her View From Home at https://herviewfromhome.com/contact-us/write-for-her//

Organized Sports Aren’t Everything

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young girl with Alpaca, color photo

Today I watched my little girl walk an alpaca. His name is Captain. Captain is her favorite. He’s my favorite too. I met his owner on Instagram of all places. She thought I was in college; I thought she was a middle-aged woman. Turns out, she is in high school, and I am a middle-aged woman. This random meeting led to a blessing. We call it “llama lessons.” We take llama lessons every other week. It’s an hour away on the cutest hobby farm. Our “teacher” is Flora, who boards her llamas at the alpaca farm. She wants to teach...

Keep Reading

I Had to Learn to Say “I’m Sorry” to My Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Mom hugs tween daughter

My two oldest kiddos are at the front end of their teen years. I remember that time in my own life. I was loud, somewhat dramatic, I let my hormones control me, and I never—ever—apologized. This last part was because no one ever really taught me the value of apology or relationship repair. Now, I could do some parent blaming here but let’s be real, if you were a kid whose formative years were scattered between the late ’80s and early ’90s, did you get apologies from your parents? If so, count that blessing! Most parents were still living with...

Keep Reading

5 Things Your Child’s Kindergarten Teacher Wants You To Know

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child raising hand in kindergarten class

I am a teacher. I have committed my life to teaching children. Of course, before I began this career, I had visions of standing in front of a group of eager-eyed children and elaborating on history, science, and math lessons. I couldn’t wait to see the “lightbulb” moments when students finally understood a reading passage or wrote their first paper. And then I had my first day. Children are not cut out of a textbook (shocking, I know) but as a young 23-year-old, it knocked me right off my feet. I was thrown into the lion’s den, better known as...

Keep Reading

To the Extended Family That Shows Up: We Couldn’t Do This Without You

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Family visiting new baby in a hospital room

This picture—my heart all but bursts every time I see it.  It was taken five years ago on the day our daughter was born. In it, my husband is giving her her very first bath while our proud extended family looks on. It was a sweet moment on a hugely special day, but gosh–what was captured in this photo is so much more than that. This photo represents everything I could have ever hoped for my kids: That they would have an extended family who shows up in their lives and loves them so deeply.  That they would have grandparents,...

Keep Reading

You’re Almost Grown, But You’re Always Welcome Back Home

In: Kids, Motherhood
Teen in room studying with computer and smartphone

Dear child, In the days before you could walk or talk, there were times when you would wail—when my rocking and shushing and bouncing were seemingly futile—but it didn’t matter. Each day and night, multiple times, I always picked you up and welcomed you back into my arms. As a toddler and a preschooler, you had some pretty epic meltdowns. There were times when you would thrash and scream, and all I could do was stand by and wait for the storm to blow over. Eventually, you would run to me, and I would welcome you back with a warm embrace....

Keep Reading

No One Warned Me About the Last Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby, black-and-white photo

No one warned me about the last baby. When I had my first, my second, and my third, those first years were blurry from sleep deprivation and chaos from juggling multiple itty-bitties. But the last baby? There’s a desperation in that newborn fog to soak it up because there won’t be another. No one warned me about the last baby. Selling the baby swing and donating old toys because we wouldn’t need them crushed me. I cried selling our double jogger and thought my heart would split in two when I dropped off newborn clothes. Throwing out pacifiers and bottles...

Keep Reading

Parents Are Terrible Salespeople for Parenting

In: Kids, Motherhood
Tired mother with coffee cup on table, child sitting next to her

As the years of fertility start to wane, many of my childless peers are confronted with the question, “Should I have kids?” With hesitation, they turn to us parents who, frankly, seem overwhelmingly unhappy. They ask sheepishly, “Is it worth it?” We lift our heads up, bedraggled, bags under our eyes, covered in boogers and sweat and spit up, we mutter, “Of course! It’s so fulfilling!” It’s like asking a hostage if they like their captor. Sure, it’s great. We love them. But our eyes are begging for liberation. Save me, please. I haven’t slept through the night in years....

Keep Reading

Soak in the Moments because Babies Don’t Keep

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Roller coaster photo, color photo

I love marking the moments, the ones that count—making a note and storing them for memory. But I often miss out on them when it comes to our oldest. ⁣ ⁣The day he wanted to be baptized, I was at home with another kiddo who was sick. He called me from church excitedly, emphasizing he was ready and didn’t want to wait. I couldn’t argue with that, so I watched him go underwater through videos my husband and sweet friends in the congregation took. ⁣ ⁣On the day of his fifth-grade graduation, we found ourselves at the pediatrician’s office. Instead...

Keep Reading

Sometimes a Kid Just Needs a Sick Day

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy outside, color photo

My middle son stayed home from school today. He said he was sick. I’m not sure that is the truth. I was lucky enough to have a mom who was an amazing caretaker, especially when you were sick. She pulled out all the stops. A cozy clean space to be, a thermos with ice cold juice by your side, Mrs. Grass’s soup, and Days of Our Lives on the screen while she tidied up the house. It was the best feeling in the world to be home and cozy with my mom when I was sick. It felt cozy and...

Keep Reading

Sometimes We Need Someone to Just Sit With Us in Our Struggle

In: Kids, Motherhood
Sad woman sits on floor, black and white image

Early this morning, I told (yelled is more accurate) my sons to get up with the same furious ferocity I use every morning when I realize they should be ready to go, but are still unconsciously snoozing away. One son lazily said, “I’m up, Mom” (even though he was very much not up). The other son, who typically has no problems getting up, had overslept and immediately freaked out, thinking he would be late to school. He proceeded to have a mini-meltdown from the dark recesses of his bedroom. That overflowed into the hallway where I found him lying face-down,...

Keep Reading