So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

Yesterday I sat at my dining room table across from my 16-year-old, watching him wrap a Christmas present. I indulged myself and stared at him while he wasn’t looking, and I’ll admit: I was a little in awe. He’s always been a great kid, but as I took him in, his grown-upness just felled me. The curve of his hair over his forehead, his long fingers holding the wrapping paper taut. He’s still a child, but he has a man’s voice and body. How have we arrived here so quickly? It boggles my mothering mind.

Suddenly, he noticed me looking. “What?” he said in that teenage way.

“Nothing,” I replied with a small smile. “I just like you.”

And I do. 

Then today, I heard a song by singer-songwriter Lori McKenna. It’s a letter to her children called When You’re My Age, and like my glimpse of my son’s impending adulthood, McKenna’s song felled me, too. I was a Puddle. Of. Tears. Here’s a snippet:

When you’re my age
You’ll still be full of questions
That I wish I had the answers to right now
And those dark times might make you second guess it
But I bet love will still be making the world go ’round
When I was your age, I didn’t worry like I think you do
Back then innocence was something you could hold onto
You’ll outgrow your shoes
You’ll outgrow your bed
You’ll outgrow this house
Just don’t forget
When you’re all grown up
But you don’t feel that way
You’re still gonna be my baby
Even when you’re my age

This set of lyrics made my eyes fill with tears, because my global pandemic-surviving children have it pretty rough now. And in the age of technology and social media, their childhoods aren’t nearly as carefree and innocent as mine was. Innocence is so much harder to hold on to, indeed.

As I listened to When You’re My Age on repeat, I was inspired to write some words of my own to my kids who are now 16, 14, and 10.

To My Children,

Your 43-year-old mom is so sorry you are having to go through so many hard things right now. This year, you’ve had responsibilities placed on you that no child should have. You’ve had to think about not only your own safety but protecting your whole family from COVID-19 every time you leave the house. You’ve had to give up parties and summer camps and simple hang outs. You’ve had to hear me say “no” more times this year than in all of your years combined.

Being a teenager is hard, especially now. But adulting is hard, too. And when you’re my age, I pray it will be easier for you, but I know you’ll rise to the occasion, come what may. And I’ll be there if you need me. 

You see, when you’re my age, you will think you should have all the answers. Spoiler alert: you won’t.

The future will hold its own unique challenges for you, ones I can’t even imagine, I am sure. I know my own parents never imagined all the challenges I’d have to face keeping you safe on the internet…what technology will you use that I currently can’t even fathom?

I don’t know the answer to that, just like I don’t know the answer to why 2020 has been so hard. Why did this all have to happen? Will life ever be “normal” again?

Here’s what I do know, my loves: I am always, always, always here for you. You may not need me, but you will have me in your corner. Whether you are 14 or 43, you will always be my baby, and I’ll always be your biggest advocate.

Right now, it’s a struggle for me not to hold on to you too tight. Yes, I miss you being little, but I want you to know that I love and enjoy the you you are right now, right this minute so very much. You truly amaze me and fill me with pride every day. Just because you’re not dependent on me for your every need doesn’t mean I love you any less, and although it’s been hard for me to realize, I know it doesn’t mean you love me any less, either.

Your growing up is hard for both of us, but dang it, it’s beautiful. So remember: be who you are right this moment, but when you need to be a kid, be a kid while you still can. Because…

When you’re all grown up
But you don’t feel that way
You’re still gonna be my baby
Even when you’re my age



You may also like:

“Your Son Growing Up Will Feel Like the Slowest Breakup You’ve Ever Known” Aches in Every Mother’s Heart

Jenny Rapson

Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.

Your Son Won’t Care About Decorating His Dorm Room

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
College boy in dorm room

  ‘Tis the season for dorms for those of us whose children are in college. You may be designing, planning, and buying dorm essentials because the decorating has begun; physically or mentally, it’s happening. And here’s what I’ve learned: boys don’t care. That’s right, boys don’t care what their rooms look like. OK, that may be a bit of an overstatement, but trust me, it’s not that far off the mark. Last year, I remember scrolling through my newsfeeds admiring my friends’ daughters’ room pictures. Everything was color coordinated, and I mean EVERYTHING–even the Command hooks stringing up the fairy...

Keep Reading

We’re Learning to Be Just the Two of Us (And It’s Fun!)

In: Grown Children, Marriage, Motherhood
Couple cooking in kitchen

My husband and I have been married for 23 years and we have never spontaneously gone four hours away to anything, much less a concert.  When we got married, we both brought daughters into the marriage, and three years later, we had a son. We were a family of five. In our 23 years of marriage, it had never been just the two of us. There were always ballgames, concerts, school awards, etc that kept us busy and split between two places if not three. After the girls both left the house for college, we still had our son. While...

Keep Reading

Mothering a Little Boy Seems Like it Will Go On Forever—Until it Doesn’t

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
Mother with two grown sons

I walked with a determined gait through the airport doors after I hugged my adult son goodbye. My tenacious walk was designed to communicate to him that I still had a purpose in life apart from being his mother. It was the same walk I had adopted when I left him at the preschool gate some 23 years earlier, at his university campus, and more recently, after his wedding.  The same stoic, and yet if I’m brutally honest, somewhat fake walk.  I reached airport security and slung my carry-on bag onto the escalator in one swift motion in case he...

Keep Reading

Dear Mom, You Still Amaze Me

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
Mother and grown daughter, color photo

I don’t know how she did it. My mother excelled at motherhood. It was as if she attended a university renowned for its studies in being a mom, and she graduated at the top of her class.  Growing up, our family had homemade meals six days of the week (Friday was either pizza or sandwich night) and there was always a fresh vegetable. Nothing ever came out of a can or a box, including our drinks, which were iced tea from steeped tea bags and hand-squeezed lemonade with a few drops of blue food coloring because pink lemonade was so...

Keep Reading

Walking Mother Home

In: Grown Children
Elderly woman holds hands with daughter

I call my sister for another update on Mom. Last week had been my week to help out. Our mother lives in her own home in Battle Ground, Washington on the property she and my father bought together—their personal version of the American dream. My sister Kari and her son Dane live with her and provide most of her care since her stroke several months ago. My sister took intermittent FMLA (Family Medical Leave of Absence) and was able to decrease her work hours, but her leave is running out. My nephew took a reduction in hours from his job delivering...

Keep Reading

Where Is the Instruction Manual for Parenting Grown Children?

In: Grown Children, Motherhood, Teen
Two teen boys dressed in suits, color photo

You know what’s really hard? Parenting. You know what’s even harder? Parenting a child who isn’t a child anymore. My husband and I have leveled up.  High school graduation has been a major event in our house for the last two years. It’s an exciting time and a great chance to celebrate the accomplishments of each of our boys individually.  That being said, this level isn’t something you can mentally prepare for. It’s just so much. So much of everything. Exhausting. Gut-wrenching. Exciting. Confusing. Rewarding. Bittersweet.  My son graduated last year, and my bonus son graduated this year. I’m equally proud...

Keep Reading

A Painting from Heaven by Way of St. Louis

In: Grown Children, Living
Woman standing next to painting, color photo

The very first piece I ever wrote for Her View From Home was posted on the website June 14, 2018. It dealt with losing my mother little by little to the ravages of dementia and how happy we all were to have the bonus time with her—sharing her enjoyment with old movies, a purple sunset, her high school yearbooks, and all of the new friends she made in the memory ward of a wonderful senior living facility. We were so blessed to have her remember all of us as her other memories began to fade, and we spent as much time...

Keep Reading

Good Dads Make Great Grandpas

In: Grown Children, Living
Grandpa walking with two grandsons, color photo

This is not only written for my dad, but for all the dads out there who aren’t the typical, everyday dads. The hands-on dad, the dad who goes on bike rides, the dad who watches his grandbabies. The dad who creates a legacy whether he realizes it or not. The world needs more of you.  It’s not every day you get a dad who enters a diaper changing contest and comes in second place. Yes, that happened to my dad. He would take me up to the local mall to walk around and one of the stores was holding a...

Keep Reading

The Kids are Grown—Now What?

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
Middle aged couple at home smiling

Between video chats with our son stationed overseas, our daughter flits in and out our door from college while the shoe jungle by the front door and lack of peanut butter in the house are proof our youngest adult son is still under our roof.  Our kids are now independent—almost. Gone are the days of diapers, endless food preparations, naps (well, not for me), and announcing everyone’s daily schedule like a calendar drill sergeant. After years of simultaneously spinning multiple plates on various body parts, we managed—by God’s grace—to raise three kids to adulthood. We made it! (High five!) We...

Keep Reading

There’s No Distance a Grandparent’s Love Cannot Reach

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
Grandparents with adult children and grandchildren, color photo

You just finished another chaotic FaceTime call. Chubby toddler fingers hung up several times, hoping to catch that elusive red button. He ran from his mom and your view was straight up that adorable nose for about half the conversation. His 4-year-old brother alternated between refusing to talk and giving a doctoral lecture on carnivorous dinosaurs. You’re a little frustrated. You’re a little heartbroken. Frankly, you’re a little dizzy from them running rogue with the phone through the house. But you accept it. In fact, you cherish that crazy call because you are rocking a role you never imagined for...

Keep Reading