I woke up early this morning. Heck, I’m always up early with a 10-month-old, but this time was eerily familiar. I heard the baby whimpering on the monitor, so I trudged my tired body out of bed. But before I picked him up, I turned into my closet to grab a heavy sweatshirt to ease the winter chill.

When I walked into that closet, I remembered a time from the past. A time, not so long ago, when freedom was a part of my day. Just two years prior, I woke early nearly every weekday morning to head to the gym. It was always cold on those mornings, so I would do the same thing as I did this morning.

I’d grab that sweatshirt.

My two older girls would still be sleeping peacefully in their beds, husband too.

I would exercise my aging body for an hour and still have time to shower, have a cup of coffee and get my girls off to school.

Life was good.

But now, life has changed. Freedom is gone for a while. I don’t sleep. I don’t exercise. My hair is finally coming back after I lost so much of it with this pregnancy. I’m wrinklier than I remember. Older, too. “Over half-way to 70” is what they tell me.

Life is different.

I put on my sweatshirt and headed into my baby boy’s room. He greeted me with the sweetest smile and raised his arms for his mama to rescue him. We sat down on a chair in the dark and rocked back and forth, just as we have for the past 10 months.

And I thought back to that time just two years ago, when I didn’t know I’d become a mom to this boy. I was so happy then. I had two, beautiful, healthy growing girls. A little money in the bank. I was truly in the best shape of my life.

And then, two little lines told me life would change. And a doctor told me life would change again when we would add a boy to our perfect family.

I was excited. I was scared.

I didn’t know how to raise a boy. I have three older sisters. I come from a family of very strong women. I know how to do that. I know how to raise independent, brave, kind females.

But boys? I wasn’t sure.

Could I be the mom this guy needs?

Of course, I can.

I didn’t know I needed this boy, until the doctor placed him in my arms on the late afternoon in March.

I didn’t know I needed this boy, until his first smile greeted my face.

I didn’t know I needed this boy, until we snuggled in that rocking chair for another midnight snack.

I didn’t know I needed this boy, until his tiny hand fit into mine.

I didn’t know I needed this boy until I heard him say “mama” for the very first time.

I didn’t know I needed this boy until he stole my heart. 

So far, it seems, raising a boy is much like raising a girl. Love them harder than you’ve ever loved. The rest will fall into place.

Two years ago, life was good. I was so happy then, but it’s even better now. I only wish we all would have met sooner.

Baby boy, thank you for completing our family. I love you more than I could have ever known.

Leslie Means

Leslie is the founder and owner of Her View From Home.com. 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.