She’s propped up in the hospital bed, sore and desperately tired, with a newborn curled on her chest. She looks down at his soft head and her heart skips a beat. She inhales his fresh baby smell, closes her eyes, and she’s not sure if she says it out loud or just in her head because she’s too exhausted to know the difference:

Remember how this feels.

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A toddler on unwieldy legs looks at her with wide, adoring eyes and reaches to be picked up. As she scoops him into her arms and snuggles him close, she tries to engrave the feeling of his cheek pressed to hers into her memory forever.

Remember how this feels.

The bus pulls up in front of the house and a boy gets off with a backpack almost as big as he is and scans the group of other neighborhood parents. When he catches her eye, his face lights up.

“Hi, Mommy!”

Remember how this feels.

Driving in circles in the parking lot, she has one arm braced against the passenger side door while her foot pushes down on an imaginary brake. The car jerks forward and screeches to a halt like a bucking bronco. She looks over and sees frustration etched on the forehead of the teenager in the driver’s seat, along with the shadow of a beard along his jawline. She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath.

Remember how this feels.

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That same car is packed to the brim—she can’t imagine how a college student can possibly have so much stuff. As her husband wrestles the last box into the trunk, she feels an arm sling over her shoulder and does a double-take.

Who is this tall man who now towers over her? Where is her little boy? How did it go so fast? She rests her head against his broad shoulder.

Remember how this feels.

She stands on the edge of the dance floor, admiring the beautiful couple. The bride is a vision in white, the groom so trim and handsome—her heart swells with pride.

She turns away for a minute to talk to a guest, when she feels a gentle tap on her shoulder. She turns back and meets a sheepish grin, the voice music to her ears—

“Hi, Mom.”

Remember how this feels.

It’s a different hospital room this time, but so much remains the same. The memories come flooding back as she slowly makes her way down the hall.

She peeks her head in through the door and sees a man cradling a tiny infant in his arms. As she comes up beside him, he tenderly shows her the newest love of his life.

“Hi, Grandma.”

She looks up and sees her son.

The tiny newborn.

The sweet toddler.

The adventurous boy.

The challenging teenager.

The confident man.

The doting father.

She’s loved them all.

And she knows that for as long as she lives,

She’ll always remember how this feels.

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page

P.S. If this tugged your heartstrings like it tugged ours, check out Love You Forever. It’s one of our favorite bedtime stories of all time.

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Emily Solberg

Emily Solberg is a soldier, military spouse, mom to two toddlers, and fierce advocate of women supporting women. The goal of her writing is to help others feel less alone in their parenting journeys, and she isn’t afraid to share the hard along with the good. You can find more from her on her Facebook page, Shower Arguments.