Gifts for Dad ➔

Everyone needs me right now. 

The middle one has a cough. My husband wants a date night. The baby wants to nurse. Always, always, wanting to nurse. Husband, baby, and I go out. Older two stay home. Half of them get half of me. 

The football game is on. My husband made a dinner I’d very much like to enjoy. Oldest wants to play catch. Baby wants to nurse. Always, always wanting to nurse. Middle one spikes a fever. I call the doctor, miss the end of the game. Everyone gets a fourth of me. 

My husband is back at work. Middle one can’t stop coughing. Oldest wants me to read him a story. Their grandma stops by to help. I have a doctor’s appointment and baby comes, too. She and I—we each get half of me. 

Middle one won’t eat or drink; his fever returns. The doctor can squeeze us in. The oldest ate his dinner, baby drank her milk. Grandma can watch the kids. Husband can take middle to the doctor. No one needs me. But I need to be with him. 

We come home, his nose bleeding from the lab test. Oldest falls and hits his chin. Baby wants to nurse again. Always, always wanting to nurse. Much too late, we all fall asleep. 

Baby wakes up crying. Middle wakes up too. My husband and I tag team. In the morning the oldest will cry and ask why he didn’t get any snuggles in the middle of the night. I wonder if I will ever be just me again. 

The nurse calls the next morning. He has two viruses, she explains. No wonder he’s so sick. Don’t let the baby get it. Middle one falls asleep in my lap as I read him a story, rooting me to the ground. My oldest wants to play. Baby cries for her pacifier. I can feel the germs crawling on my hands. I can’t reach it anyway. They each get a third of me. 

There’s not much of me left. 

But they can have all my faith. All my blind trust, all my lack of understanding. 

They can have all my hope, all my belief that everything will get better soon. 

They can have all my love. 

I, in turn, will take whatever grace there is on offer. I will take it for the times I made the wrong call, for the times I lost my patience. I will take it for the times I let fear and anxiety overwhelm me. I will take it for the times I wished I was anywhere but here, dividing myself into smaller and smaller pieces. 

And the grace will make me whole again. 

Jackie Semmens

Jackie Semmens is a writer by nature and a mother by nature. She has two boys and is willing to chase them all over the hills of Montana in order to get them to nap.

Even When You Feel Like a Failure, Your Family Still Loves You

In: Motherhood
Mother holding child and laughing, color photo

Today was hard. Put it down. Lay it down and don’t dwell on it. I know, at this moment you feel like a failure. A failure as a mom and as a wife. RELATED: I Failed as a Mom Today and I May Fail Again Tomorrow, But I’ll Keep on Trying You feel like you’re failing at life, and you just can’t get ahead. And that’s OK. It will pass. You had a bad day. We all have those days. Those days when we can’t get ahead and we can’t get things done that we wanted to, so we have...

Keep Reading

Oh, How I’ll Miss Little You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child standing in leaves, looking up, color photo

Oh, my sweet little child, I wish you could stay this little forever. I wish these days would never end. They are busy, loud, and chaotic—but, oh, how I love them! They make my life feel whole. Complete. I don’t know what I will do when these days are gone. I will miss your sweet little face looking up at me. The innocence in your eyes. Your sweet little grin. I will miss how your face lights up when you see me. How your little arms manage to give me the biggest hugs. How I can make everything better with...

Keep Reading

I’m an Emotionally Exhausted Mom

In: Living, Motherhood
Tired mom in hallway

I awake to the sound of my 4-year-old asking for breakfast. For him, every day is exciting. It’s whipped cream on pancakes, bike rides, and hugs. He smiles and chatters away as I make my way downstairs. I try to shake off the nightmares that kept me up all night, but my body feels tired and sluggish. My stomach is in knots. “Will you read to me, Mommy?” How can I say no? I sit down with a cup of coffee as he piles his favorite books onto my lap. He snuggles in next to me, and I put my...

Keep Reading

“God, Please Put a Baby in Mommy’s Belly. Amen.”

In: Loss, Motherhood
Little girl praying by bed

“God, please put a baby in Mommy’s belly. Amen.” She’s added it to her prayers every night for the past year. Woke up two weeks ago. Didn’t feel well.  Dark positive pregnancy test Shock. Joy. Excitement.  Thank you, God. We’ve all wanted this for so long. My husband jumps up and hugs me. He’s so happy, maybe even more than me, if that’s possible.  Three more positive tests over the next week to double-check. More excitement with each definite positive. A Christmas baby. Pure joy.  A few unusual symptoms. Shrug them off. Telling a few people but not too many,...

Keep Reading

Even When I Fail, I Hope You Feel My Love

In: Motherhood
Drawing of mother holding toddler, black-and-white photo

I am sorry for the days I am not enough—the days I am short on attention or tempered for reasons that don’t matter as much as you matter.  I am not always living in the moment. I am mulling over the past or worrying about the future. I am sorry for not letting go sooner of things I can’t control and sometimes missing the beauty of you, right in front of me.  I apologize for the days I let exhaustion or circumstances get the best of me. If it gets the best of me, it gets the best of you....

Keep Reading

If Only My Mother Were Still Here

In: Grief, Motherhood
Mother and daughter on beach at sunset

My strongest memory of my momma is more of a feeling than a memory. I can see myself standing in the bright kitchen of our big yellow house looking up at my beautiful momma surrounded by sunlight. I think she was handing me a glass of saltwater for a sore throat. But the feeling is what I remember in the most detail . . . I felt safe and loved, known and seen.   I knew that even if I didn’t know what I needed, she would always know. A hug, a song, a gentle nudge of confidence, a silly kitchen...

Keep Reading

There’s Just Something about a 4-Year-Old

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
4 year old girl smiling outside

There’s just something about a 4-year-old. The way their bubbly laughs and sweet little faces still have some traces of babyhood while they’re transforming into more and more of their own unique person right before your eyes.  The way they ask questions about everything under the sun, listen wide-eyed to your clumsy answers, and believe every single word you say. It’s so innocent (and scary) the way they believe absolutely anything you tell them—just because you’re “mommy.”  The way their still-a-little-chubby hand finds yours. And the way they still come running to you for a hug and kiss when they’re hurt. Or...

Keep Reading

Find the People Who Will Root for You

In: Friendship, Kids, Motherhood
Empty sports field, color photo

My son participated in tryouts out for a new travel soccer team at the end of a recreational fall soccer season one chilly evening in November. He has been playing recreational soccer since he was three years old when we started with the local club. He has been asking about joining a travel team since kindergarten. In recent seasons, I watched him struggle in the recreational league. I watched him wanting a little bit more in the sport as he developed his passion—he was ready to grow.  We knew he loved soccer, and it was something he had always wanted...

Keep Reading

You Don’t Raise Your Babies to Be Little Forever, but I Thought I’d Have More Time

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Little boy peeking over wooden fence, color photo

I can see the yellow blur of the school bus passing in front of my window. Soon my little boy will excitedly burst through the front door with his picture of a giraffe from art class. His big brown eyes will meet mine as I get a toothless “I missed you, Mom” grin. He will tell me everything he had on his tray for lunch, recount the whole soccer game at recess, and share all about that hilarious thing his friend said on the bus. He will then sit on my lap as he takes each school paper out of...

Keep Reading

No Man in a Girl’s Life Holds More Influence than Her Dad

In: Kids, Marriage, Motherhood
Father and daughter on amusement ride, color photo

As I sat outside Walmart watching my husband of nearly 16 years walk in with my 9-year-old daughter to buy me a box of tampons, I realized how blessed I am.  This is real life. Not only does he not care about running into the store and picking up these items, he asks our girls if they want to join him, and they use this time to talk. They talk about real-life—about growing up, changing bodies, what tampons are even for, how they can wait years and years before they need to start dating, how he will be waiting outside...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections