Gifts for Dad ➔

Dear daughter,

I had a dream last night, you were 10 again. I saw you as you were exactly then, and my heart rejoiced. I knew I was dreaming, but I relished the moment as I could experience the freshness of your face, the light in your eyes, the bounce in your step, the exuberant confident ways of your heart . . . and then I woke, to realize the reality of the day.

RELATED: Because One Day She Will Have To Walk Away

You see, you are married now, you have left home, you are no longer 10. And at times I see the world weighing down on you in your efforts to smile and your lethargy in your activities, pretending you are OK. I see the doubt and insecurity in your eyes as you try to make sense of it all, and I know you are wondering how did life speed along so quickly to bring you to where you are now. The what-ifs never leaving that contemplative mind of yours.

I know, I feel that way, too.

I see your reluctance to leave us when you come to visit, and I know you sometimes wish you could just go back to being 10 when everything was right in the world, life was carefree, and all we had to worry about was getting to school and netball on time. Whether we would have a cereal night for tea or splurge and have pancakes. How you would rise before everyone else on someone’s birthday, just to set the breakfast table and make a pancake feast to surprise them. Or how you would set up the entire lounge room as a classroom to play schools with your siblings, cousins, or toys. I know you miss these days.

I know, I miss them, too.

RELATED: The Echoes of a Mother’s Love Remain After the Kids Are Grown

How I wish I could go back to those days and have you back in my complete care and arms where I could protect and love you as fiercely as I did then, knowing as long as I could just hold you and tell you it would all be OK and that the world would be a safe and fun place to grow into, then just maybe it would be. But it isn’t always, is it?

Life is hard, sometimes it hurts, and we are always moving forward into new phases and times because none of us can hold back the tide as much as we wish we could. 

I know, I wish I could, too.

Then I see you as the woman you have becomein your element, flourishing as God always intended you to, separate from us in the physical, yet as close as ever in heart, spirit, and mind. Your God-given skills, talents, and abilities have always been there, somewhat immature and clumsy in your youth, yet somehow beautiful, amazing, and awe-inspiring now in your adulthood. I always knew He had his hand on you, especially when you would talk of all your aspirations and what you intended to do when you were a grown-up. So many dreams and hopestoo many to imagine at timesand my mind would boggle as I’d ask God just what did He have in store for you? My dreams, yours, or His? 

RELATED: Seeing My Grown Daughter Happy Fills My Heart With Joy

Then here you are, and guess what–it is a combination of all four! I see all of us—you, me, your blessed dad, and our God, all rolled up into what makes you, you—the precious daughter we could never have dreamed into one perfect human being.

And though in locality you are no longer here permanently, you are always right here in our hearts, our memories, and our home. You fit right here. You always have, and you always will. No matter where your life takes you, what you choose to do to fill your days, and who you choose to do them with, we will always be with you and one day in Heaven, we will never ever be separated by time, locality or life ever, ever again, when we see His face and enjoy eternity together where all our dreams will be made perfectly complete.

I know, I wish for those days too.

Debra Wilson

Debra is a farmer's wife with three children, living in rural Australia. She has always had a love for writing, reading, sharing, and supporting others with life's stories. She currently coordinates a local support group for women and worked as a chaplain in schools during her children's school years. Today she and her husband enjoy managing their farm together and being involved in their kids' and extended families' lives, attempting to live a God-honouring life.

Thanks For Leading by Example, Mom

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
Adult woman and mother smiling, color photo

Dear Mom,  Thinking back on my life as a child, young adult, and now a middle-aged mother myself, I am indebted to you for the many life lessons you have taught me—some directly, mostly leading by precious example.  If I have any bones to pick with you, it could be that you made it all look so easy. So very, very easy! Marriage, motherhood, working outside the home, relationships with in-laws, relationships with co-workers, relationships with church friends, and just relationships in general. I hardly ever saw you cry. The few times I did see you cry stand out to...

Keep Reading

To the Emotional Mom of a High School Senior, Enjoy It

In: Grown Children, Motherhood, Teen
Teen girl in graduation gown, color photo

Dear moms of high school seniors, I see your posts on social media, and I sense your excitement, mixed with anxiety and a bit of sadness (if we are being completely honest). I notice your photos of all the lasts, and I celebrate your child’s accomplishments with you. I see you, and I know you because I have been you, twice now.  I feel the almost palpable sinking feeling that hits in the pit of your stomach when you think about them moving on to the next stage. How is it possible they have grown from such a tiny, helpless...

Keep Reading

A Mom Never Stops Wondering if She Did Enough

In: Grown Children, Motherhood, Teen
Mom and teen son

Two days before my first child left for college, I swallowed tears passing the chocolate milk in the grocery store. I did not need to buy it. Every time I saw someone that summer, they would ask, “Are you ready”? Is he ready?” And the answers were always no and yes. I did not want to let go. I wanted to relive and hold on (one more Cubs game, one more of your favorite dinners) and teach any last-minute things I had forgotten over 18 years (laundry sorting? self-check-in at O’Hare?). But those were the small things. In my heart,...

Keep Reading

Mothers Don’t Teach Us How To Live Life Without Them

In: Grief, Grown Children, Loss, Motherhood
Woman in dress with corsage, smiling color photo

When you’re a little girl, you dream of marriage, children, a career, and memories that you will cherish forever—and you want your mother by your side at all times. Our mothers teach us how to live a life we will enjoy, but they never teach us how to live a life without them in it. Our mothers don’t tell us that one day they will not be here to answer the phone when we call or go on spontaneous dinner dates. My mother never told me there will come a day when she will be gone and how bad it...

Keep Reading

There Are No Mother’s Day Cards For Broken Relationships

In: Grown Children

Every May, I wrestle with, what is for me, the most highly fraught holiday of the year—Mother’s Day. As I stand staring at the abundance of cards produced by companies such as Hallmark, American Greetings, and the like, I wonder if any of the card writers ever wrestle with finding just the right wording for a card as much as I wrestle with trying to find the most ideally worded card.  While there are a variety of options to choose from—sentimental to faith-based to funny—I’m on the hunt for something different. A card that captures the true essence of my...

Keep Reading

After My Mom Died, I Carried the Grief of Those Around Me

In: Grief, Grown Children, Loss

When the phone rang at 4:30 in the morning, I knew immediately who it was and what she was going to tell me. It was sweet Betty, and she was calling to tell me Mom was gone. My mom had cancer and dementia and had been in hospice care for the past month.  She was still breathing but no longer living. I knew the call was coming. I was expecting it, so I was prepared. Or so I had told myself up until 4:29 a.m. But I was not prepared. I was not all right. I was wrecked. I was...

Keep Reading

A Mother Doesn’t Stop Being a Mother When Her Son Is Grown

In: Grown Children, Motherhood

I saw you in pain today. Not a physical pain, where I could hand you a Band-Aid or two Advil and provide reassurance that the hurt will go away. You tried to mask the agony by hiding in your room. But it was too obvious to miss. When you were a child, I could place you in my lap, hug you tight, and whisper, “Everything will be alright.” I could protect you from scary monsters and the neighborhood bully. Reluctantly, you would tell me your fears—you talked, I listened. Then, I talked, and you listened. We’d recite a line from...

Keep Reading

Something Beautiful Happens When Your Parents Become Grandparents

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
Grandpa with his grandson, color photo

Sometimes I watch my parents with my children, and I wonder who are these people and what happened to the people who raised me? Something changed in my parents when they became grandparents, I think. It’s like life offered them a second opportunity at getting it right. A second chance at being good parents to small children. And they jumped at that opportunity like into a refreshing pool on a hot, sticky, humid day, reemerging from its depth brand new, shiny people. Suddenly, things that were egregious for them when my brother and I were children don’t matter anymore. Whenever...

Keep Reading

Moments Become Memories When You’ve Lost a Parent

In: Grief, Grown Children, Loss

Last weekend, we celebrated my mother-in-law’s 80th birthday. It was a joyous occasion honoring a remarkable woman. It was also a devastating reminder that my mother is gone, that she will never celebrate her 80th birthday, or any birthday, ever again.        There is no way to prepare for the pain of losing a parent. It’s like being forced into an oddly exclusive club you never knew existed. Only after experiencing it can you understand the grief, the void, the all-consuming feelings of sadness. RELATED: To Those Who Know the Bitter Hurt of Losing a Parent When my mom...

Keep Reading

The Connection Between a Mother and Son Changes But Never Breaks

In: Grown Children, Motherhood

Words, phrases, entire sentences left my son’s mouth at the dining room table as if he were speaking a foreign language: cryptocurrency, NFTs, digital reality, avatars, metaverse real estate. Not unlike the time he used his eight years of Mandarin to order dinner at Tang Pavilion. My husband nodded and responded in the same dialect. The words floated in the air as I sat with a dopey look on my face, like a toddler seeing a soap bubble for the first time. The years of skipping the Business section in favor of The Arts had finally caught up to me....

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids


Proven techniques to build REAL connections