Gifts for Mom, Grandparents, Besties and YOU🎄 ➔

My darling Ella,

Today you turn seven years old. Where does time go? As each year passes, I find myself asking again and again, never with an answer.

The truth is, my oldest daughter, time moves the same each day. We are all given the same snippets of hours and minutes and seconds in this grand life, but when you were born on that hot August day seven summers ago, time became more precious.

The early years were a haze of bottles and late nights and loud screams, a mixture of running water to ease your anger and long drives with ‘80s music to soothe your soul. Those days were hard and long and seemed never ending. Time was slow then, but always beautiful. Your sweet smile, the smell of your baby skin and the joy of many firsts made each day run together with the last.

Until they didn’t. And one day, I looked up and there you were; playing on your own, feeding yourself, bathing yourself, reading and solving math problems. And I wonder, in the day to day, if I soaked it in. Everyone told me to take it in and I did. But I didn’t. And I wish for just a moment, I could go back and hold your sweet tiny body in my arms and breathe in your precious newborn smell. Just for a moment. 

But now my girl, we’re in a new stage. You’re about to start first grade! We’ve replaced bottles and Sippy cups with sports drinks and lemonade; blankets and pacifiers with dresses and lip gloss; mashed sweet potatoes and peas with grilled cheese sandwiches and pizza. You’re seven. Seven! Where does time go?

This year you’ll notice new things and life will become obvious. You might see bullies; I pray that’s never you. You might get your feelings hurt, too. I’d like to wrap you in a bubble and shield you from all of life’s blows, but you’ll have to learn it for yourself along the way. I hope we can teach you right from wrong. I hope you’re listening to our words and can feel every ounce of love we share for your sweet being. Here’s what I know, there are scary things and scary people and scary events in this world, but the scary never lasts. Good does. Always choose good. I think you will.

Your heart is so kind and loving. Take that into this world, my Ella. We all need more kindness and love. I truly believe those characteristics will bring you more joy and success than you can imagine for yourself. In the years ahead, you’ll doubt and wonder if you have what it takes. You’ll question your dreams and ambitions; you’ll wonder if you will succeed. 

The answer is simple, of course. I know you will, my darling. You will succeed, you will achieve greatness and you will be a success. Because, my baby girl, you already have. You’ve fulfilled my greatest dream just by being you. You are a gift to me and to anyone who is privileged to know you along this journey. 

Seven years ago, you gave me the greatest honor and the best title of them all – mom. It doesn’t matter what I achieve in this lifetime, no job or success or goal will ever be as great as being called your mother. Nothing. Of this I am certain. You and your sister bring more joy to my life than I ever knew possible. And as time passes, I know this love will expand to depths not yet discovered. What an honor it is to be your mom, what a joy it is to watch you grow. Stay kind, learn, grow, keep your faith strong and know you are loved beyond measure. 

Happy seventh birthday sweet girl! We love you now and forever. 

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Leslie Means

Leslie is the founder and owner of Her View From She is also a former news anchor, published children’s book author, weekly columnist, and has several published short stories as well. She is married to a very patient man. Together they have three fantastic kids.  When she’s not sharing too much personal information online and in the newspaper – you’ll find Leslie somewhere in Nebraska hanging out with family and friends. There’s also a 75% chance at any given time, you’ll spot her in the aisles at Target.

Simple Moments Shape Childhood

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy in shallow water of beach

Sometimes it’s the little things that can turn out to be the biggest things. Motherhood has made me appreciate the everyday moments, the simple moments, differently.  Being outdoors with my boys can be simple in theory, but I absolutely love the adventures we take. Whether we are hiking, biking, swimming, exploring, or checking out a new park, this momma knows it is time well spent.  RELATED: I’m Watching You Grow Up in the Little Moments Because whether they realize it or not, these memories being made are the special ones. The ones my boys will carry with them in their...

Keep Reading

I Promise to Show Up for You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter in garden

My child, I hope you know you can count on this: I will show up for you. I will show up when you wake in the middle of the night, when you get up too early or stay up too late. I will be there to make your meals, read you a story, and tuck you into bed. I will show up when you are sick—taking time off work, bringing you to the doctor, cleaning up your throw-up, and sitting up with you. I will show up at every game, sitting in the stands or a camp chair, freezing or...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Growth Is Tangible, and When It Is You Hold On Tight

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom putting bike helmet on child

I never expected my sign to come in the form of a plastic bag. As a parent, you’re told over and over how fast it all goes, to cherish these times because they’re gone in a blink. You see the gradual changes in your kids as they move through milestones. One day, they can hold their own spoon. They begin stringing words into sentences. Their ages are counted in years and no longer months. You watch these things happen every day, but I didn’t realize some transitions would come in tangible ways, like a grocery bag filled with wet swim...

Keep Reading

Some Nights They Need You a Little More

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy sleeping, color photo

Some nights they need you a little more, mama. Because of the bad dreams or the bogeyman they are adamant is under the bed. Because firefighter daddy’s schedule leaves him missing goodnight tuck-ins and bedtime stories several times a week, sometimes leaving them a little needier and more emotional. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. RELATED: I’ll Lay With You As Long As You Need, My Child Because they are sick. Because they feel safe in your presence. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. It’s not always easy. It’s not always (okay, hardly ever)...

Keep Reading

Sweet Babies, I’ll Be There

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two children lying in bed, color photo

When your world is calm and peaceful, I’ll be there. When your world is chaotic like an ice cream shop on the hottest day of summer, I’ll be there. When you need a Band-Aid applied and a boo-boo kissed, I’ll be there. When you want to perform in your Frozen microphone like you’re performing for a crowd of 20,000 people, I’ll be there. When you feel lost and alone, I’ll be there. When you feel you have nowhere to go, I’ll be there. RELATED: I Will Always Be There When You Need Me, My Son When you need a pep...

Keep Reading

I’m in the Big Little Years

In: Kids, Motherhood
black and white photo of little boy and little girl standing in a window together

I’m in the big little years. It’s when you’re no longer in the tender season of babies and toddlers—those sweet, smothering, exhausting years of being constantly touched and needed . . . . . . but you’re not yet in the big kid years—navigating boyfriends and driver’s licenses and bracing your heart for the impending ache of an empty nest. I’m somewhere in between. I’m in the years of having littles that aren’t so little anymore, but still need you for so much. They have big feelings. Big ideas. Big dreams. But they have mostly little problems (even though they...

Keep Reading

1-Year-Olds Are Wonderful

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood, Toddler
1 year old baby smiling

Newborns—who doesn’t love them?  The captivating scent of a brand new baby, their fragile little bodies laying so delicately on your chest. Everything that comes with a newborn baby is just absolute magic. But have you ever had a 1-year-old? I used to think the newborn phase was my favorite, nothing could ever be better than having such a tiny helpless little human rely on you for absolutely everything. I could hold my newborn for hours, soaking in every tiny little detail before it became nothing but a beautifully distant memory. But I’ve realized it’s 1-year-olds who have a special...

Keep Reading

My Kids Are All in School Now and It’s a Little Lonely

In: Kids, Motherhood
Woman looking out window alone

I had just dropped my children off at school. All of them. My youngest has just started full-time. It was my first full day on my own since she began, and I had really been looking forward to it, so I took myself into town to do a bit of shopping and grab a coffee. Just me. The kind of days dreams are made of, right? I could suddenly breathe again.  I only had myself to answer to.  I got my latte and something to eat. And then I cried.  My eyes filled with tears as I sat in the...

Keep Reading

I Love You Even When I Say I Don’t

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter touch foreheads

“I love you even when I say I don’t.” These words came out of nowhere from my 5-year-old. I was standing in the bathroom with her (we still don’t like to go potty without mommy standing right there), and she wouldn’t look at me while talking to me. You see, my 5-year-old and I have been in more spouts than ever before. She’s found this new attitude in her first couple months of kindergarten, coming home with new phrases including, “No, I don’t want to–you do it.” It hurts my heart, makes me frustrated, and leaves me asking myself where...

Keep Reading

Big Questions at Bedtime Don’t Require Perfect Answers

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and child at bedtime

Last night at bedtime, my son asked why everyone has to die one day. The thought of my sweet 7-year-old grappling with the weight of such a question hurt my heart. He looked so small tucked under a fleece blanket, clutching his favorite stuffed panda. How could the same little boy who just started second grade wearing a space backpack stuffed with bright, wide-ruled notebooks ask such a thing?  Perhaps my children are more aware of the inevitability of death than other kids their age due to the passing of various family pets over the past few years, or perhaps...

Keep Reading