Behind your closed door, I stand. Mostly about to burst in with freshly folded laundry or to catch a word of the muted laughter floating through the wall. But I’m here. Behind your closed door.

I am not sure exactly what I thought would happen when you started high school, but I made sure that I was ready. I relinquished all obligations. Not even a carpool would I share for fear of missing out on our mother-daughter conversations. Everyone said that’s when I would learn everything. But we mostly drive in silence.

And when I yell “I love you” as you grab your backpack and are halfway out the car door.. I might get a smile. But once, just once, you asked me to not yell “I love you“. And then I yelled it . . . louder.

Four months later, I’m standing here outside your door, waiting for you to need me.

Six months later, I am starting to understand our new relation-shift. We have shifted into an understanding. I understand that you are the child I have raised, the girl who sat on my lap, the girl who LOVED her mama, the girl whose eyes lit up at the sight of me, and whose eyes closed every night to the sound of my voice. But now, my presence is like a clock ticking. “When will she leave?” I hear your thoughts whispering.

I am aware that you would like your clothes clean, your backpack packed, a driver, cash, and your appointments made. You prefer that I only speak when spoken to, disappear soundlessly, and interpret this new body language expertly.

To your credit, you have amazing friends, grades, confidence, and do not seem to need me, but it’s still strange to not talk anymore. I appreciate that you have a natural separation from your parents rather than an unnatural enmeshment that affects your life forevermore. Thank goodness we have established your independence. Except that it’s just so sudden.

My dad always played a tape for me titled, There’s No Such Word As Can’t. Those words have guided me my entire life. But there’s something I can’t change: no matter what you do or say, I’m still going to be standing here. Right outside your closed door.

Originally published on the author’s blog

You may also like:

Dear Teen, I’ll Never Stop Saying I Love You

Dear Teenage Daughter, I Will Be Right Here Waiting For You to Come Back

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Kara Turner

I love people like Buddy the Elf loves Christmas. I would be happiest in an elevator talking to new people all day long, even those resistant to elevator talking. What is on the inside of others is the most fascinating thing in the world to me. I want to dig in there and feel the heartbeat of unique souls.

Here’s to the Friends Who Don’t Hide Their Messy Parts

In: Friendship, Motherhood
Two women sit in a field with arms around each other

To the friend who invited me over without picking her house up beforehand . . . thank you.  You had no way of knowing, but I’ve been especially weighed down by the feeling of “I can’t keep up” lately—and when I walked into your beautiful home and saw dishes in the sink and laundry scattered here and there, I let out the deepest exhale I didn’t even realize I was holding in.  Because seeing your mess? Your less-than-perfect? It didn’t make me think any differently of you, but it did allow me to give myself the grace I desperately needed....

Keep Reading

Hand-Me-Downs Come with Spots, Stains, and Sweet Memories

In: Motherhood
Hand me down clothes folded in a box

The newborn announcement pictures are precious. The new pastel-colored onesie that doesn’t quite fit the baby with pockets of fabric that have to be folded back to peak at the little, wrinkled fingers tipped with translucent nails. The little hat that covers their soft, fuzzy head will never be worn again, but it completely makes the outfit. We often love to capture our little ones’ adorable moments and milestones. However, it can be quite challenging and costly to keep up with the expectation of dressing them in fully styled outfits, especially as they grow from babies to toddlers and then...

Keep Reading

This Is a Mom’s Brain in the Middle of the Night

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman looking at smartphone in the middle of the night

Dear husband, let me introduce you to your wife, insomnia edition. You see me not sleeping. You see me “playing” on my phone. Here’s what my brain is actually doing . . .  It’s 2 a.m., I wake up thinking, “I need to make an appointment” (it can be as mundane and stupid as a haircut or more importantly, a specialist appointment for one of the kids). I try to go back to sleep, promising myself I will remember. Lying there, I tell myself I won’t forget. I will remember, don’t worry. Fifteen minutes go by . . . On...

Keep Reading

Organized Sports Aren’t Everything

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young girl with Alpaca, color photo

Today I watched my little girl walk an alpaca. His name is Captain. Captain is her favorite. He’s my favorite too. I met his owner on Instagram of all places. She thought I was in college; I thought she was a middle-aged woman. Turns out, she is in high school, and I am a middle-aged woman. This random meeting led to a blessing. We call it “llama lessons.” We take llama lessons every other week. It’s an hour away on the cutest hobby farm. Our “teacher” is Flora, who boards her llamas at the alpaca farm. She wants to teach...

Keep Reading

Her Future Will Not Be My Broken Past

In: Living, Motherhood
Mother and daughter hold hands by water, silhouette photo

Forty years ago, you were an innocent child. You were brought into this world for a purpose. Your innocence is robbed before kindergarten by a trusted relative. You are broken and bruised by those entrusted to protect you. You are extremely emotional in your childhood, but no one listens to understand. As you grow into your teenage years, emotions are bottled up out of fear. You lean into promiscuous behavior because that is the only way you know how to get men to love you. Because of abuse that no one took you out of, you stay around those who...

Keep Reading

You Came between Us

In: Marriage, Motherhood
Toddler between mom and dad under sheet

Right in the middle of our deepest love, you came—just between us. A silent, unseen surprise. A mysterious miracle of incarnated love and joy. From that sacred moment that we couldn’t imagine being any sweeter, came you. Sometime in the middle of all the daily goodbye hugs, my stomach began to grow and you came between us. This beautiful bundle of life blossoming right inside of me. And we were in awe of every single tiny formation of you. In awe of who you were, excited by who you’d be, in awe that you were ours. You came between us...

Keep Reading

God Redeemed the Broken Parts of My Infertility Story

In: Faith, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Two young children walking on a path near a pond, color photo

It was a Wednesday morning when I sat around a table with a group of mamas I had just recently met. My youngest daughter slept her morning nap in a carrier across my chest. Those of us in the group who held floppy babies swayed back and forth. The others had children in childcare or enrolled in preschool down the road. We were there to chat, learn, grow, and laugh. We were all mamas. But we were not all the same. I didn’t know one of the mom’s names, but I knew I wanted to get to know her because she...

Keep Reading

I’m a Mom Who Reads and is Raising Readers

In: Living, Motherhood
Mom with infant daughter on bed, reading a book, color photo

Since childhood, I’ve been lost in a world of books. My first true memory of falling in love with a book was when my mom read aloud Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. With each voice she used, I fell deep into the world of imagination, and I’ve never seemed to come up for air. My reading journey has ebbed and flowed as my life has gone through different seasons, but I’ve always seemed to carry a book with me wherever I went. When I entered motherhood and gave my whole life over to my kids, I needed something that...

Keep Reading

I Look Forward to the End of a Work Day for a Whole New Reason Now

In: Motherhood
Dad hugs toddler at home

Those minutes matter. Whether it’s 5 or 15, every single second of them counts. Unless you’ve been there, it’s impossible to explain. I’m not sure there are any words that could really create the right picture. But believe me when I say those minutes count. I’m talking about those final minutes leading up to that door opening and some form of relief being on the other side. Those minutes you never thought would come. Those minutes mean you made it through another day, and there is (possibly) some relief in sight. This is a new experience I wasn’t quite ready...

Keep Reading

I Had to Learn to Say “I’m Sorry” to My Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Mom hugs tween daughter

My two oldest kiddos are at the front end of their teen years. I remember that time in my own life. I was loud, somewhat dramatic, I let my hormones control me, and I never—ever—apologized. This last part was because no one ever really taught me the value of apology or relationship repair. Now, I could do some parent blaming here but let’s be real, if you were a kid whose formative years were scattered between the late ’80s and early ’90s, did you get apologies from your parents? If so, count that blessing! Most parents were still living with...

Keep Reading