Dear child of mine,

I didn’t know it at first, but I had a lot to learn about what being a mother meant. I thought you’d come into the world and I’d teach you.

Visions of milestones flashed through my head when I found out I was pregnantholding your hands while you learned to walk, your bike while you learned to ride. I pictured the many things I already knew I could bestow on you, to make your path a little easier.

I had dreams for you, little one, dreams mostly centered around what I could show you.

But the reality was so much different . . . so much better.

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The truth is, you have been teaching me.

First, you taught me how amazing the human body is. How tough a mother is.

I have a new respect for my body, for the creation of life, and the fragility and power of pregnancy and birth.

I saw you for the first time and all the strength I worried wouldn’t be there was never missing. It was deep inside, waiting for you.

You taught me a smile is contagious. That the simple things are really the big things. And the big things are never what they seemed in hindsight.

I learned sleep is not overrated.

That a good relationship with my husband is more critical than I ever could have imagined on the day we said I do and got swept into our happily ever after.

You taught me I need to trust other people.

That it takes a village to raise a child. But also to go through motherhood alone would be isolating, sad. The village isn’t just for the child, it’s for the whole family.

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Luckily, I had you to show me how easy it is to make friends. Because you can do it with just about anyone.

You taught me that snuggling in with a favorite stuffie and lots of kisses makes for the best goodnights. That a story before bedtime puts dreams in your head.

That you get a fresh start every morning.

That adventure awaits around every turn.

I see now that things like pancakes for weekend breakfast and popcorn during Friday night movies are easy thrills.

Simple pleasures make sweet traditions.

The way you make a wish when you blow out your birthday candles is something everyone should do exactly the way you do it. Close your eyes tightly and think really hard. Make it count because you only get to do it once a year.

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I’ve learned that holding someone’s hand has a calming effect. That a hug is always appreciated even when someone says it’s not.

You taught me there’s beauty in the sunshine, in the snow, the heat, and the cold. Diving into the pool, raking leaves, building a snowman, picking dandelionsit’s all fun if you appreciate the season you’re in. And when you put on galoshes and jump in the puddles, there is even beauty in the rain.

My darling, I had so many visions of what I’d teach you. But the reality is I’m the one who’s learning from you.

Previously published on the author’s Facebook page

Caroline Murray

Caroline is a freelance writer, mama to two young children and one sweet baby.  She loves everything country and tries not to take anything too seriously.  You can see more of her at www.the-othermom.com.