I wish I could bottle up all the little giggles, the sound of little feet running wild throughout our home, the chubby toddler hands, and the snuggles—oh yes, the snuggles.

I wish I could bottle up their first crooked, gummy smile, the first roll, first crawl, first steps, first bit of everything sweet. I wish I could bottle up their hand in mine, their bedhead after nap time, and all their little cuteness.

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There’s so much I want to remember as if it were moments ago, but there is also so much I’d like to forget: the times I lost my cool or patience, the times I felt sleep-deprived and exhausted, the times I didn’t appreciate their littleness, and the times I chose chores over presence.

They say, “Enjoy it, it goes by so quickly” or “Don’t blink! You’ll miss it.” But I’m here to tell you though it is true that babies don’t keep, it’s also true that life doesn’t stop when your babies arrive.

So blink. Inhale the sweet smell of that precious baby. Cry when you need to. Laugh when you can. Ignore the advice that makes you uncomfortable in your motherhood. Find your mom team, and love them hard. Embrace that messy toddler and squeeze them tightly. Warm your coffee again and again.

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Tell your children every day, every hour, over and over again: I love you so much. I’m so glad I get to be your mommy. Snuggle them to sleep. Get nap-trapped and forget the dishes. They’ll be there when your sweet little wakes up . . . so will the clean clothes that haven’t been put away in days.

But most importantly, give yourself the grace to be present and to love without abandon. So when you’re on the other side of all this messiness, you won’t say, “Don’t blink,” but rather you’ll think back to all the nap-traps, tickles, giggles, books read and games played, running feet, and mess, and you’ll remember, “It’s all just so beautiful.”

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Amanda Crews

Amanda is a follower of Jesus, wife to Chris, and mama to Carson in Heaven, and Mia, Arie, and Mateo here on Earth. She offers Christian encouragement on her website http://www.sanctifiedbylove.com. She also enjoys reading, writing, cooking/baking, traveling, and investing in relationships.

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