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To the momma of big kids who feels like it’s all going too fast.

To the momma who experiences tinges of sadness to full-on tidal waves of emotions on birthdays, holidays, and first school days because another year is over.

To the momma who has so desperately wrapped her hands around time and tried to reign it in, and yet, the moments have slipped through her fingers leaving her wondering if she’s been present enough for this motherhood journey.

Let me remind you of something: you were there.

You were there when the nurse placed a sweet newborn in your arms or when those lovely adoption papers were signed. How you stared at your little one’s face convinced you’d never seen anything so beautiful. And you’ve had a million moments since looking at your child in wonder.

RELATED: Mothers Grieve a Million Little Losses as Their Babies Grow Up

You were there the first time your baby pushed his lips together to form the word “ma-ma.” And for the first shaky steps. The first bite of jalapeño chips your 3-year-old demanded to takehis reaction made you laugh and hug him. And the first toothless grin. The first bike ride. Or drive. Or dance.

A million times you’ve witnessed your kids’ firsts.

You were there to lift your toddler into her car seat and high chair and crib. You pressed your hand against her forehead and decided to call the doctor. You flipped the grilled cheese sandwich and halved the grapes. You researched the best toddler beds and read about napping routines. Over the years from a million different angles, you’ve watched, prayed, planned, and met your child’s needs.

You were there to see your kindergartener play soccertiny cleats clustered around a ball. Your child’s hand nestled safely in yours to find his classroom, meet the teacher, and choose the “I get home on the bus” card. You’ve packed lunches, made Valentine’s Day boxes, taxied to practices, photographed games and concerts, attended conferences, bought poster board at 9 p.m. Each passing year in a million ways, you’ve supported your kid in school and activities.

You were there to take your second grader to the beach. You watched her leap the rolling waves, the scene catching your breath. And a million more times you’ve packed the suitcases and driven to the mountains, the lake, the theme park, the grandparents’ house for togetherness and memories.

You were there when your fourth grader turned 10—double digits, a big deal.

Repeatedly, you’ve lit the candles, sung the song, and seen your child make closed-eyed wishes. In a million instances – birthdays to holidays to baptisms to family gatherings – you’ve attended milestone events; you’ve given the gift of traditions.

You were there for sixth grade, the start of middle school. You bought the new shoes, clothes, and school supplies. You helped your tween try to find the activities and friendships that made him feel connected. You set up routines, checked grades, reflected on what’s working and isn’t, and then tried new parenting approaches to best help your child. From a million directions, you’ve cheered your kid on during life’s transitions.

You were there when your eighth grader’s emotions tore through the house like a tornado, the debris impacting the whole family. You inhaled patience and exhaled guidance for everyone to take a break. You then helped unpack big feelings, spoke God’s love and truths, gave perspective, and invited apologies. A million times you’ve been the rock, the safe place to land, the home that nourishes and teaches and encourages faith.

You were there when the garage door creaked open and your tenth grader filled the door frame. Confetti of life-with-teens peppered the house: laundry next to the hamper, piles of dishes in bedrooms, friends crashing around, pantry raids, bowls of cereal. Then, repeatedly, exquisite emerged: good conversations, an unexpected head against your shoulder during a family movie, inside jokes, “I love you” said in words and actions.

You’ve been there for the million everyday moments.

You were there for your twelfth grader’s final year of high school. You had no idea watching your child gain independence dished out equal measures of sadness and pride. The trek hasn’t always been easy and there’s still much to learn, but you’ve relished seeing your child grow. Your lovely, wonderful kidyou’ve had a front-row seat to the million instances that have shaped who she is today.

RELATED: Mamas, Please Quit Mourning Your Children Growing Up

I don’t know exactly where you’re standing in this journey, but when the mom-ache starts, the kind that sends bolts through your body making you acutely aware that the parenting years are just a blink, remind yourself . . . 

You’ve experienced the full journey of motherhood: everyday moments to big events, the challenges to the joys, and all the loveso, so much love.

You didn’t miss out.

Through it all, momma, you were there.

Originally published on the author’s blog

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Cheryl Donely

Cheryl Donely is a high school teacher and mom to three boys. She writes faith-based encouragement for moms of tweens/teens at Empowered Moms and Kids. Subscribe here to get monthly encouragement and instant access to Empowered Moms and Kid's Freebie Library. Or follow Empowered Moms and Kids on Facebook.

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