My daughter is only two, but like most moms, when I look at her pictures from what seems like forever ago, sometimes tears come to my eyes. Tears of joy and also, tears of longing. I miss her tininess, her small cries, and her newborn smell. I can remember the feel of when her whole body would fit into my arms and she’d fall asleep as I gently swayed and rocked her. I can hardly believe how big she has gotten and how quickly these first two years have gone by.

Being a mom has had me thinking about my own mom, and what it must have been like for her to care for me in similar ways that I do my own child. Considering this has widened my perspective and given me excitement about what’s to come.

When it comes to the relationship I have with my mom, if I could transport to any season or age, I’d choose this one right now.

I wouldn’t need to do any time travel or go back. I wouldn’t return to the days my mom was changing my diapers, or playing with me at the park, or when my 13-year-old self would get so mad at her I’d yell and slam my bedroom door shut, or when I left home for college and missed her terribly. I’d choose right now.

I’d choose now because we are the best of friends.

All those years of her love, investment, care, and preparing me for adulthood have provided us a solid foundation. I’ll gladly let those formative years behind us rest and remain grateful for how they have rooted us.

What I’m thankful for is an amazing adult friendship with my mom.

We travel together, we get our nails done, we go out to the movies and dinner. We buy each other little things along the way we know the other would enjoy. We talk for hours, laughing at our inside jokes and sharing in each other’s lives.

What I’m realizing is all this work I do now with my child—raising her, teaching her, guiding her, passing on faith to her—is all in preparation for the amazing harvest ahead of a beautiful and loving adult relationship between mom and child.

I enjoy every moment of where I am in motherhood. I soak up my child’s smallness and wonder, her joy and delight, her questions and personality. We get to watch baby bunnies out the window together, we play at the park, we read books, she makes me play coffee, and I watch her bounce around our home with boundless energy and excitement. All this, of course, in between the fits, battle for independence, and rejected meals.

But oh, truly, I believe the best is yet to come because of these wonderful years now spent building a strong foundation between us.

I am looking forward to the times ahead when I get to see her off to college, go on shopping trips, take her out for coffee, hear about the man who will eventually ask for her hand in marriage, help her pick out a wedding dress, and see her become a parent. And so much more shared life as mother and child, but also as friends. When I look back, these are the pieces of life I have enjoyed most with my mom, and these memories and experiences teach me that there’s a great deal more to look forward to in motherhood than just these first few years.

Every stage we go through as mother and child is messy and precious. I want to find the balance in savoring the now, but appreciate that I have to let go and that it’s OK to move onto bigger and better moments of life shared with my child.

I want my heart to love it all and embrace what’s ahead just as much as I cherish what is behind.

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Dear Mom, Thanks for Still Mothering Me in This Exhausting Stage of Motherhood

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Pamela Palmer

Pamela Palmer is the founder of www.upheldlife.com where she produces faith resource articles and weekly devotionals to inspire keeping faith at the center of it all. She lives on Jesus, coffee, and music. She is a woman in pastoral ministry and gets to share in the emotional and spiritual lives of many people, being a small piece of each journey. Pamela married the perfect man for her and they have two beautiful kiddos together.