Packing for a weekend out of town and to colder weather, I washed my go-to cotton jacket, dried it on the rack, and then fluffed it for a few minutes in the dryer like I always do with things that can’t afford to shrink. 

Fast forward 24 hours and a biting chill hits me so I pull out my trusty jacket and put it on. As I get re-situated in my seat, the back of my wrist rests on my left pocket, and I feel something. I reach in, pull it out, and can’t help but smile. It’s like a reflex I couldn’t stop if I wanted to. 

That’s what happens when you see something you desperately longed to see for years but never did. When something now sits in your pockets that didn’t before, and you used to fear would never.

It’s like the toilet paper balls in my shoes that I had no idea had been placed there by little fingers until I put my foot down in them and my toes get jammed.

It’s like the bath toys that now take up residence in my bath tub, and the crumbs that live in my bed.

It’s the Pack ‘n Play and four bags of snacks, toys, and extra clothes I had to pack for this trip that I didn’t used to need.

It’s these little things I can’t take for granted because of the genuine joy and gratitude I feel every time I see them or the little girl who brings all this goodness into my life. 

I know I’m not the only mother to love her child obnoxiously, but God allowed me to walk a path that included a lot of loss and a lot of uncertainty and a lot of faith building. I am thankful for it now, because it has made me so incredibly giddy and thankful every day to be a mom.

And some people might not understand the thrill of a surprise paci in their pocket . . . but I sure do. 

Abbie Dunlap

Abbie Dunlap writes about her personal experiences in hopes that others may be able to draw encouragement through reading about them. You can find her at