Dear Mom,

Today I came home from the hospital with my brand-new baby boy. As my weak postpartum body hobbled in the front door, there you were, waiting anxiously with my 4-year-old, grinning from ear to ear. Oh, how you had probably dreamed of that moment just as long as I had.

I smiled back at you, trying my hardest to soak in every detail and store it away as a memory to last a lifetime. But everything wasn’t as perfect as I’d hoped it would be.

I can chalk it up to being a little older than the last time I did this. Or perhaps it was having an insanely fast delivery. But recovering from this baby has been rough.

I hurt, Mom. Everywhere.

But you saw that, didn’t you? You saw past my semi-forced smile and blasé attitude revealing something was a little less than perfect in the midst of a perfect moment.

Your baby was hurting.

You could have swooped in, grabbed my newborn, and taken him away for those blessed grandma snuggles, forgetting all about me. But you didn’t. Instead, you looked at me and asked one very important question: “What do you need?”

Ice packs! Codeine! Another epidural!

Instead, I gave a weak shake of my head and a small, “I’m fine.”

Thankfully, as you’ve done most of my life, you saw straight through that line of BS. You helped me to my bed, lined me with ice packs, and sent my husband to the pharmacy for the prescription I had been too preoccupied to fill earlier.

Mom, I want you to know how much I appreciate you checking on me first.

I never thanked you because, honestly, at the time it made me feel weak. It made me feel like a bad mother taking any attention away from my son.

But I get it. That’s our job, isn’t it? Our job as moms?

In the middle of the chaos that came from bringing a new life into the world, I had somehow forgotten that, though grown, I am still someone’s baby.

Your baby.

And just as I will always check on my boys first, I know you will always do the same for me. Because motherhood doesn’t have an expiration date. And as long as you’re here with me, you will always check on me first.

Because that is the way it is meant to be.

From one mama to another, thank you.

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Kayla Runkel

Kayla is a former marketer turned stay-at-home-mom to two sweet boys. You can follow her blog, The Rustic Hideaway, or her writing page, K.C. Runkel. When she is not writing, Kayla loves teaching fitness classes, reading books, and spending time with her husband and sons exploring her favorite place in the world, Wyoming. Or as she simply calls it: home.