So God Made a Teacher Collection (Sale!) ➔

Lately I’ve come to notice a new feeling in my gut. It’s been there before, in other forms, but nothing quite like this. 

I can can go a few hours without feeling it’s eerie tightness, but then, there it is again. It doesn’t always bring me to tears but sometimes it does.

The knot in the bottom of my stomach isn’t likely to dissipate any time soon. Like a scar is the reminder of a deep cut, maybe it won’t ever fully go away.

The knot in my stomach isn’t unique to me. Generations of women before me have felt the same thing I’m feeling today. Woman all around me live every day with the same knot.

In some ways, I’m grateful for the knot. If I was completely honest with myself and with you, I probably wouldn’t even wish it away if I could.

So, why am I living with a knot in the bottom of my stomach?

In a few short days, our family of six will be taking a road trip halfway across the country, and then will return home with just five of us in the vehicle. We will be leaving my oldest daughter at a ministry school – 1,500 miles away from us. From me. Her mama. 

The precious daughter I carried for 9 1/2 months in my womb. The one I endured 16 hours of labor to see her precious face. The girl that broke me into mamahood. 

My firstborn child that helped me start losing my arrogant, “I will never allow my children to do that, judgmental self. The one that paved the way for how we would parent and discipline our little mini me’s… now four in total. 

Nearly 18 years after that beautiful afternoon that became the first day of the rest of my parenthood life, it’s time to transition my baby into the adult world. How does this happen?

So many have gone before me. So many have paved the way for mothers all over the world to know that, though this season is tough, it is doable, it is survivable. In fact, it can be downright amazing, if you just learn to embrace the knot in the bottom of your stomach. 

Because, though yes, the knot in the bottom of my stomach is full of sadness for me. It also is full of joy for my baby girl. 

My girl has been transforming into a powerful and beautiful woman for a while now and this is the next phase. I would never want to hold her back from all the potential that is in her.

Her dreams and potential are leading her far from home… at least for a season. And that’s ok. 

It’s OK because she has been created as her own person. She was created with gifting, purpose,  and destiny. She was created to impact the world around her – wherever that might be. 

I have had the gift of her life from the beginning of her days but now it’s time to share that gift with the world. 

And yet… today, with this knot in the bottom of my stomach, I feel a bit selfish. This knot can urge me to hang on a little too tight. But I can and I will choose to be generous. I will choose to let go though this knot within me wants to hold on.

I will embrace the fact that I will probably, from now on, be living with a knot in the bottom of my stomach. Because I have three more daughters to live through this season with. And this season doesn’t stop with leaving my firstborn in her new apartment. This season transitions into one of each daughter going away to school, each one meeting their spouse which means four weddings, new jobs, first home purchases, and, in a blink, grandbabies. 

Yes, this moment of preparing to leave my first baby at school a million miles away from home has left a knot in the bottom of my stomach, that might lessen with time, but probably will never fully go away. Especially since I’ll be taking this grownup daughter’s baby sister to her first day of preschool in just a couple short months…

Dani Stroda

I love the adventure of life - aspiring to live every day lost in the whimsy and wonder of the journey. I’m outrageously in love with my amazing husband who makes me laugh every day. I’m mamma to 4 gorgeous and witty daughters who delight me everyday. I’m overwhelmed by the love of our Creator and passionate about helping others find freedom and wholeness - body, soul and spirit. I am author of the book, Journey Through the Door, which released in November 2015. A good conversation, with a friend, over coffee is a favorite pastime of mine and you can join me over at http://www.whimsyinmycup.com/ to join in the conversation! Also find me at “Whimsy In My Cup” on Facebook.

As Another School Year Begins, Remember Mama: You Know Your Child Best

In: Kids, Motherhood
little girl holding a first day of kindergarten sign

Dear mom buying school supplies and feeling overwhelmed, Stop and pray. Ask God to help you envision each child as the young adult they can be. Write out your goals for that child . . . fair warning, there will likely be very little academic success in your goals. You may even have to go back and write those in. Take a deep breath. Keep this list of goals nearby. Go back and read them when the world is telling you your child doesn’t stack up somewhere. They aren’t reading as fast, they’re not “getting” math, their handwriting is wonky,...

Keep Reading

Every Time the Doctor Says, “It’s a Girl!” My Heart Grows a Little More

In: Kids, Motherhood
Sisters sitting on park bench

When I’m in the grocery store with my girls, I always get comments. My oldest girls are walking near the cart with my two-year-old running up and down the aisles. “Three little girls! Wow! God bless you, Momma!” Then they look in my cart and see the car seat holding my nine-month-old. “Is that a baby boy in there?” “No, another girl!” I reply. I get a variety of responses when people realize I have four girls under the age of seven. “Wow, you’ve got your hands full!” “Going to try for a boy?” “You are truly blessed—your girls are...

Keep Reading

Raising a Child with a Severe Food Allergy Affects the Whole Family

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy looking at ice cream cone

I saw something recently that said, “It’s National Ice Cream Day today!” and I cannot stop thinking about it. Now I know that sounds silly, but as a mom of a child with a severe dairy (and egg) allergy, I must admit at times it makes me sad (and more often jealous if I’m being completely honest) when I know my son is going to miss out on another fun or “normal” thing that other kids his age are experiencing, like actual ice cream and ice cream parties. If I continue to be honest, I get jealous when I see...

Keep Reading

So You’re Not the Fun Parent…So What?

In: Kids, Marriage, Motherhood
Woman reading book while two play in background

I’m not the fun parent in our household. Of course, this comes as no surprise to me but it still stung when my 8-year-old said to me rather bluntly the other night, “Daddy’s way more fun than you.” And while the rational part of my brain knows better than to take this kind of comment to heart, my super-sensitive, highly emotional primitive brain did the exact opposite and ran with it.  Daddy is the more fun parent. I’m the stricter, more rigid, and more uptight parent. I’m not the type of parent who, in the spur of the moment, will...

Keep Reading

Mine Is the Shy Kid

In: Kids
Girl sitting on side of playground

I’m the mom of one really shy child. But not your quintessential shy kid. I don’t mean she is “slow to warm up,” because my daughter might not warm up at all. And I don’t mean that she’s only shy until she gets to know you. There are friends and family members she still hides from or won’t talk to. What I mean is my almost-4-year-old struggles so much with her shyness that it’s hard for her to interact with most people. Especially her peers. I’ve Googled more than you could ever imagine about this topic: How shy is too...

Keep Reading

In This Magical Place Called Kindergarten

In: Kids
Kids at elementary school circle time

It’s hard to put into words what happens in a classroom in the course of a year. Especially a kindergarten classroom. For many children, this is their first experience away from home, from their place of comfort and security—the place where they can always be themselves. But teachers are a special breed—especially teachers of littles. And they step into this substitute role with the biggest hearts and the most love to give. They take this unknown, intimidating place and then transform it into a magical, wondrous adventure. A classroom, a community, a family. A place where these little people can...

Keep Reading

Summer Goes by Too Fast

In: Kids
Boy lying on bench at park, color photo

To my oldest, As our summer vacation nears an end and we begin school supply shopping, I think about all the things we didn’t get to do together this summer. I instantly feel mom guilt. All the plans I had made? Only half of them done—if that. RELATED: Remember When Summer Lasted Forever? All the books I was going to read to you at bedtime? Only a couple short ones. All the creative art we would do? Maybe just one time. The fact is, I let time slip away from me. I was too focused and anxiety-ridden about work, my...

Keep Reading

Going on Family Vacation with Young Kids is Work That’s Worth It

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom with two young kids on airplane

Our routine will be a mess. Our toddler won’t sleep in a new environment. Our baby needs all of the gear. The flight could be a disaster. I went through a mental checklist of reasons why this kind of family vacation would be hard. It was a pretty convincing list if I’m being honest. I considered throwing a pity party dedicated to the concerns I shoulder as a mother. A few days later I felt a wave of conviction wash over me. I was dreading a trip that was meant to be a blessing to our family. Any kind of...

Keep Reading

I Want To Raise Good Sisters

In: Kids, Motherhood
Four girls sitting on a rock in the forest, color photo

My current dilemma: how to teach four little girls how to be good sisters when I have no idea what I’m doing? I was an only child growing up, and a tomboy at that. It was a lonely, quiet childhood. I remember wishing for a sister, but knowing that with my single mom, it wasn’t going to happen. So, the sister thing is a big mystery to me. I’ve noticed (admittedly with some envy) adult sisters together and their inside jokes, shared history, and language known only to each other. I’ve read about sisters in books. The relationships between the four...

Keep Reading

I Don’t Just Love You, I Like You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boy standing at bridge, color photo

My growing child, my heart often aches when I look at how big you have gotten. You aren’t a baby anymore, you’re a whole kid. You are your own person, with your own thoughts and feelings. You have your own friendships, and interests.  Parts of me realize you don’t need me the same, but deep down I know you need me all the same. And I’m realizing, that in all of these changes, my love for you is also a like.  RELATED: Being Your Mom is the Greatest Honor of My Life Because now we can connect in a whole...

Keep Reading

Get our FREE phone wallpaper to encourage you as the new school year begins

It's bittersweet for a mother to watch her child grow—but you both are ready to soar.