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One day God gave me a gift . . . 

My newborn was the love of my life. I almost couldn’t pull my eyes away from his perfect face. I knew every cry and exactly how to comfort him. I fed him and changed diapers and breathed in the sweet scent from the top of his head.

I never knew this kind of LOVE existed!

Then one morning I picked him up from the crib and found a chubby baby. His bright eyes danced at the sight of me, and his dimpled face broke into a drooly grin.

My newborn was gone.

I didn’t even get to say goodbye.

But this new baby was the love of my life. He giggled and chattered and bounced. I memorized his proud face as he learned to roll and crawl. I fed him new foods and carried him on my hip and strolled him around the block to show him the world.

Then one day when I lifted him out of the stroller, I sat him down on two roly-poly legs and he ran away from me, laughing. He tripped and fell and cried “Momma” then lifted his hands toward me.

My baby was gone.

I didn’t even get to say goodbye.

But this new toddler was the love of my life. He was into EVERYTHING. He bothered the cat and pulled pans from the cupboards and spent very little time on my lap. I chased him around the yard and watched him splash in the bath and rocked him as I sang every night.

Then one day when I hoisted him out of the tub, he landed on two thin little legs. Then he ran down the hall with the towel flying out behind and hollered, “Momma, chase me!!!”

My toddler was gone.

I didn’t even get to say goodbye.

But this new preschooler was the love of my life. He had SO MANY stories and the world’s most adorable laugh. He loved matchbox cars and Spiderman and constantly shouted “Watch this!!!” as he did ‘tricks’ off the couch. I watched and cheered and carried him piggyback and read him stories and tickled his back at bedtime.

Then one night as I lay beside him, his long legs reached past my knees. I couldn’t remember the last time I carried him, and when he whispered “Just a little bit longer, Mom” I smiled at his missing two teeth.

My preschooler was gone.

I didn’t even get to say goodbye.

But this new little boy was the love of my life. He brought me pictures from school and his bright eyes always scanned the soccer sidelines for my face. We built LEGOs together and had Nerf wars and nearly every five minutes he said, “Hey Mom, guess what??” I played with him and cheered for him and listened to his stories and taught him to ride a bike.

Then one day when he climbed in the car after school, he popped his earbuds into his ears. And whenever I gave him a side shoulder squeeze, my chin fit so perfectly atop his head.

My little boy was gone.

I didn’t even get to say goodbye.

But this new tween was the love of my life. He told hilarious jokes and loved basketball and shared details of his latest Fortnite adventures as he rode along in the front seat. I cooked his favorite dinners and yelled things like “Box out!” from the bleachers and learned how to do Fortnite emotes.

Then one night I hugged him before bed, and my arms reached waaaaay UP to squeeze him.

My tween was gone.

I didn’t even get to say goodbye.

But this new teenager is the love of my life. He is glued to his phone and constantly requests food from the drive-thru and sometimes rolls his eyes my direction. But then sometimes he scores 25 points at basketball and those same bright eyes look up to the stands with a smile. I stock the pantry with enough chips to feed friends and laugh at funny memes and stay up watching The Office on Netflix. I cheer for him and pray for him. And every single day I am grateful I get to be his mom.

For I know one day very soon, my teenager will be gone.

And my baby will walk through the door a grown man.

Still the love of my life.

What a gift!

I never knew this kind of LOVE existed.

This post originally appeared on Ordinary on Purpose, by Mikala Albertson

This book has been a go-to for our boys as they transition into young men. We thought yours might like it, too! Is he too busy to sit and read? No sweat. He can listen to it here, on Audible.

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Mikala Albertson

Mikala is a wife, family practice doctor turned mostly stay-at-home mom to five kids, and writer. She is the author of Ordinary On Purpose: Surrendering Perfect and Discovering Beauty Amid the Rubble available wherever books are sold. Mikala writes to give you permission to release your grip on all the should-dos and have-tos and comparisons and “I’m not measuring up”s and just be free to live your life. THIS life, however imperfect. In this body with these relationships in this house at this job with these parents and these circumstances. Your ONE precious, beautiful life! Join her on Facebook and Instagram.

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