Dear Kids,

It is almost mid-January and you finally all went back to school this week after a long and glorious winter break. The break was full of highs and lows and traveling and staying home. In all honesty (for the most part) it was great, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that some days were better than others.

As I reflect on the break I can imagine how it will feel to send you all of to college one day and reflect on our family years. I imagine myself a blubbering mess, sipping coffee in my corner of the couch (the one you find me in every morning as I wait for you to come down the stairs and crawl into my lap) and sorting through the bazillion photos I took over the years (of course this will have to be done digitally since I cannot fathom actually printing photos).

There will be highs and lows to reflect on but much like winter break it will have gone too fast.

Similar to winter break there will be pieces and parts I do not wish to remember. Like when we were trapped in the house last week for days straight due to snow and all the while it looked like Christmas threw up in our living room. Or when the four of you decided to team up against me like a pack of banshees at the airport. I had to channel my inner Mother Teresa in order to not lose my ever-loving mind in front of the hundreds of people we were sardined in line with. Or any of the many times when we fought, cried, yelled, and acted less than lovely.

Much like winter break I might not care to recall the parts where you humiliated me and made me completely reconsider my parenting abilities – like when you opened your present from your 80-year-old grandmother with a look of disgust and greed. I don’t care if it was a pink and purple Nerf gun, you know better. I have raised you better. Suck it up, smile, and say thank you. (By the way… a couple hours later you were having plenty of fun with that feminine weapon.)

Also like winter break – there will be plenty to joyfully reflect upon – like how proud you were of your gingerbread house (that was being destroyed by a bloody shark and a ravenous bear) or how much fun you had playing in the glittering snow. Just as I sit here now and reflect on the joy and laughter of winter break, I know I will always cherish the giggles, the belly laughs, and the glee of your childhood. Something that good that can only be from heaven.

I particularly loved the times this winter break when you all acted as though you liked each other. It was beautiful. It was glorious. It was my favorite.

Truly, there is something about seeing you love on one another that will forever make me weepy. There were times when a big kid helped and guided a little kid and there were times when you all played the same thing, together, by choice. This is something you will only get better at with time. Your sibs will always be your truest friends… treat them accordingly and you will always have someone to stand beside you for all the highs and lows in life. (Just ask Uncle Mer and Aunt Cate… Oma forced us to be friends and it was the best thing she ever did.) I know when my nest is empty these will be the best times to reflect on.

The parts that will be the hardest to reflect on won’t be the frustrating or humiliating, they will be the sweet tender moments. They will be like snuggling on the couch for movie with the twinkle of the nearby Christmas tree or the stories, prayers, and songs at bedtime or even the silly conversation around the dinner table. These are the sacred precious moments that I try my best to savor each and every day. You won’t always fit on my lap, you won’t always want tucked in at night, and I’m sure at some point my hugs and kisses will be awkward for you. I’m already mourning the loss of this.

Winter break flew by.
It’s gone.
It was precious and exhausting and special and it nearly fried me to the core.

I have a funny feeling that in a decade or so I will find myself in this corner of the couch thinking the same thing about your childhood and our family years. It was precious and exhausting and oh so special and it nearly fried me to the core.

I guess what I am trying to say is I love you.
I love being your mom.
I love watching you grow.

It pains me to think of how tiny you were and fast you are growing. Motherhood and this season can be really hard at times and I can be guilty of wishing the day away but you are so very precious to me. I think you are all fantastic humans, but can you just slow down a little bit?

Love you,
Mom

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 now!

Order Now

Christen Spratt

Christen is the wife to one (he is the coolest engineer you will ever meet) and a mother to four (one from her teen pregnancy, one with epilepsy, one with SPED needs, and the fourth may or may not be related to the Hulk.) She is a recovering “perfect wife/mom,” up to her eyeballs in all things motherhood. She doesn’t have a Pinteresting life, she doesn’t cut sandwiches into dolphins, she doesn’t have a perfect marriage, and she regularly shares all this good/bad/ugly with her sweet readers over at http://christenspratt.com/. Christen is passionate about authenticity and frequently writes about the FaKebook phenomena, parenting, marriage, and faith while keeping a canny sense of humor. It is her heart to offer hope to other moms in the trenches. You can also find her on Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/christenspratt, Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/christenspratt/, and Twitter - https://twitter.com/christenspratt.

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

Daughter of Mine, Do Not Let the World Extinguish Your Fire

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young daughter, color photo

Daughter of mine, I see the fire behind your eyes. Do not let it die. Daughter of mine who runs wildly and loves freely and whose anger is always whipping silently just under the surface like a pilot light, ready to ignite with one tiny spark. Do not let it die. RELATED: There is Wild Beauty in This Spirited Child of Mine Daughter of mine, one day you will become a woman, and the world will try to steal you and mold you and tell you who to become. Do not let it. It will try to fit you in...

Keep Reading

God Chose Me to Be the Mother of a Wild One

In: Kids, Motherhood
Woman holding child on the beach, black-and-white photo

It was just another typical fall morning. There was a time change so you were a little extra sleepy (also known as grouchy) but nothing too out of the ordinary. In a split second, that all changed, and the reality of what it is like to live with an unbelievably relentless little human set in like never before. I sat on your bedroom floor, laundry scattered all around, and literally watched my tears fall to the ground. I was on my knees. Physically on my knees just begging you to stop or begging God to give me patience. I don’t...

Keep Reading

I’m Raising a Fearless Daughter

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little girl on playground

Imagine you are at the playground with your kid(s), and you look over to see someone else’s kid launching themselves off the tallest tower on the entire playground. You feel your heart stop for a second, you suck in a sharp breath. You think to yourself, or maybe you even say it out loud, “Oh my gosh!” That kid—the one who is always finding the most dangerous way to do literally everything? That’s my kid. Truthfully, that’s both my kids, my youngest just isn’t tall enough to join in on the real danger yet. RELATED: Raising a Wild Child Is...

Keep Reading