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a note to my children


    When I was a little girl, all I could dream of was being a mommy. Your aunties and I played dolls until we were way too old for it. We crafted baby books with photos torn from clothing catalogs to document our imaginary children’s lives. I spent hours daydreaming about how many children I would have, what their names would be, what color hair they would have and, most importantly, what I would dress them in for family pictures. Once I was old enough, I spent my time babysitting and playing with kids in the church nursery, then later nannying for a family and falling in love with those children.

    My friends in college would sometimes laugh at me because I just wanted to get married and have kids. I wasn’t looking for a career path, I didn’t have a strategic post-graduation plan. I had a boyfriend {your daddy} and the dream of marrying him and becoming a mommy.

    Now that I’m here – on this side of my dream – with four healthy, bright, happy and unique children, there is something I want you to know.

    My darling children, you have made my dream come true.

    In my young mind, I wanted kids to dress up and cuddle and show off. I do that with you sometimes and it’s fun, for sure.

    But, as it turns out, that is not my favorite part of motherhood.

    From the moment I realized you were going to be part of our family, you each captured my heart. That love developed through the months of growing you in my tummy, holding you for the first time, staring at your perfect little face, admiring how you looked so much like your siblings and yet so very different. Each of you have your own personalities, you own talents, your own struggles and needs. As you grow, you become more and more of your own person and I get the best view to watch it all play out. I see things in you that remind me of daddy, you have mannerisms that you get from me. Then there are those things that are all your own and I get to find ways to encourage you, protect you, understand you … those are the best parts of being a mommy.

    You are mine; we are forever connected, and I love you so much deeper than I ever knew was possible.

    Yesterday a mama duck and her little ducklings started crossing the busy road. I slowed down and came to a stop {on the highway!} to avoid hurting them. After a few moments, their mama turned direction and her babies followed quickly after her.  It was the sweetest sight watching those tiny baby chicks waddle after their mama. They needed her and she led them confidently towards safety.

    Sometimes, that’s how I feel. I feel like the mama duck with my little ducklings following after.

    Sometimes I feel confident and walk with my chest held high, confident of where I’m going. I have four well-behaved, darling little babies and parade you proudly. Look what I’ve done!, I say. Look at these amazing children who call me mom!

    But sometimes {okay, maybe a lot of times} I feel exhausted. I feel selfish. I feel ill-equipped.

    Sometimes I feel like I’d rather not have four little ones following me at every turn. Sometimes I want to turn around and tell you to sit still or leave me alone or find someone else to follow. Sometimes I actually say those things and I’m so sorry for that. I’m not always the nicest mommy to you and I hope you will forgive me for my times of impatience and rudeness.

    Sometimes I don’t know if I’m very good at motherhood. Am I answering your questions? Am I nurturing your heart? Am I teaching you to love people more than things? Are you well-rounded? Are you kind? Am I praying for you enough? Reading to you enough? Saving for you enough?

    What I have learned over and over in my short years of being a mom is that as hard as I try to lead you confidently, I will let you down.  I am still a work in progress – I’m still figuring out how to be less selfish and well-rounded and kind right along with you.

    So, my babies, here’s what I want to say to you today:

    thank you.

    Thank you for making me a mommy. For being a dream come true. For teaching me about selflessness and forgiveness and my unending need for grace. For making me laugh and being my companions. For following after me like those baby chicks. For wanting me and needing me and accepting me. You are the best children ever.

    I love you, my darlings. Oh, how I love you.



    50 thoughts on “a note to my children”

    1. Well said! I too always played in my room with dolls until I was much too old. I couldn’t wait to be a mom. Now sometimes I feel like I am doing lots of things but not doing them well. I hate when I lose my patience and get frustrated. My kids are a bit older than yours, but I still need to slow down at times and remember that this is what I ALWAYS wanted!

      1. Thank you for your rawness. I don’t need to read the perfect formula for becoming the most exceptional mom, but I do need to read about checking my attitude at the door, asking for forgiveness and leaning into their world (that one is hard for me). Thank you for your blog!

    2. I’m not a mom, but not by choice. You are the way I wish my mom was when were little. We also were 3 boys and a girl. She was too young when she had us at only 16. She now at 73 is my best friend in the is world. You are amazing to me in every way possible but the most amazing thing a you are a Christian woman to be looked up to. Thanks for being such a beautiful soul an example for all. God bless you and your family.

    3. Hi Emily, I am a loyal follower, but was going through my JDC emails looking for JDC monthlies that I had missed, and came across this post, which I hadn’t yet read. It was such a blessing to me tonight. I have four kids, ages 8.5, 6.5, 4.5 and 2.5. My husband is in the Navy Reserves and travels often. He is currently out of the country for a couple weeks (we are on day 7 of 15) so my kids and I are, shall we say, needing a break from each other. :) I couldn’t have read this at a better time; it’s like you opened my heart and took everything I need to say to them and wrote it down for me. Thank you! I will be sharing this with them tomorrow!

    4. Thank you for this beautifully written post. I am a silent reader and don’t often comment on blogs but wanted to say thank you for your honesty and authenticity , from the other comments it seems to ring true for all the other mommy’s. x

    5. Beautifully and perfectly said. Took my thoughts and put them into amazing words. Blessings to you and your family.

    6. So wonderfully worded Emily. You have spoken for many of us who couldn’t find the words to capture the essence of what being a mother means to us. Thank you from the depths of my mother’s heart!

    7. ((wipes eyes)) thank you for sharing such a beautiful letter. This inspires me to write a letter to my own little ones!

    8. Thank you for sharing the words that I can never put on paper. Not that I can’t, I just don’t know how to voice the words I want to say. This came at a perfect time. I lost a friend this week and it was the perfect thing to share with her family, at a time when then needed some great words from a mother. I hope they will at some point read these words and find some comfort in them.

    9. I am speechless. However I wanted you to know who much I deeply admire you. I have been a silent reader…not one for making comments but I truly admire how transparent you are because for some of us in this very situation, it is a challenge. A challenge that you can make look easy, but encouraging us to listen and lean on others and Him for strength. I have to be honest….Facebook does not give me strength, instead your words from the heart! So thank you again for sharing your heart. Happy Mommy’s Day, Emily!

    10. Emily. This is absolutely beautiful. I just adore reading your blog (when I get a second…maybe one of those seconds Im telling my kids to not follow me and sit still). I also feel like Im making mistakes most of the time but I love my kids (3 kids 5 yrs & younger) but Im confident they know my love for them and understand the most important love, Gods. My story is different, being that I was on a career path (med school was where I was headed) and not even a thought on marriage and children. Then boom, I was a mommy and wife. I had no idea how much I would LOVE being a mommy. It is the BEST job in the world!!!!!! You are an amazing writer! Thank you :-)

    11. Emily, I’ve been following your blog for over a year now, and have never left a comment. I absolutely love your blog! This was such a beautiful, heartfelt and honest letter. As I sat reading this in the car, waiting for my son to finish school. I couldn’t help but to cry! I have 2 boys (plus the Mr.) and a new puppy. I love, love them so much, but like you I sometimes (always) feel tired, overwhelmed and questioning wether I’m doing a “good enough” job raising them??? I think all mom’s wonder this from time to time. Thank you for sharing your creativity and your honesty with us! Happy Mother’s Day :) Lori Swearingen

    12. What a sweet, wonderful momma you are :) This made me tear up and want to write one to my little girl too. What blessed children you have- thank you for sharing.

    13. Got me choked up on this one, Emily! I am a mostly stay at home mom to 2 1/2 little ones and I appreciate your words. THanks!

    14. oh this is so beautiful – thanks for the tears! i ask myself the very same questions – am i doing right by my little one – often times i am impatient and rude – when i wave goodbye to my darling annie (7 yr old) as she gets on the bus and i watch the taillights traveling to the end of the street and make that turn out of my sight – i long for her back by my side holding my hand and i want to tell her i am so sorry i made you eat your breakfast fast or yelled because your backpack wasn’t where it was supposed to be. who cares right?!! i long for her all day long and when she’s home i wonder when bedtime will be here. sometimes. not all the time, but i admit this. we are all works in progress, we are all making our way but boy oh boy it is the most amazing journey i have ever been on in my life and i am so very grateful that my little annie viola chose me to call mom. happy mother’s day you fabulous lady. xo (ps – i am featuring this on Give Me Air today it’s too good not to share –

    15. Thank you! Today is my due date (our first one) and I am going to write a beautiful letter like this for my child. You made my day!!

    16. Beautiful! You put so eloquently into words what has always been in my mind. All I ever wanted to be when I grew up was Mom. My dream came true too! :) My “babies” are grown now, 19 & 21, but it was the best most fulfilling time ever. Enjoy your littles each step of the way.

    17. Your letter touched my heart and opened my tear gates. Thank you for sharing your letter……I am sure just like me, all mommas can relate to your letter!

    18. Happy Mothers Day Emily! I hope that your day is all that you could imagine… you deserve it! I hope that you know that your blog truely is a blessing to many women!

    19. I so feel the same way about my boy and my baby growing right now. They’re my dream come true. We needed help to have both these kiddos so for a long time I didn’t know if I’d ever get to grow my own babies. Your post today hit all my emotional buttons (haha) about my long awaited dream becoming real. :-)

    20. Happy Mother’s Day. I love your note and just wrote a note for each of my children to give them Sunday. If I could only be the blessing to them that they are to me!

    21. Thank you Emily – your words have captured my heart. I used to think I was born in the wrong century. Motherhood was my aspiration not a career. I can’t think of any nobler profession than Motherhood and although I now have a career that I enjoy immensely (my kids are 19 and 21), I can’t imagine my life without those two incredible people in it.

    22. That was so beautifully said. I can’t tell how how exactly the same my life has been! I never wanted anything beyond being a momma and have dreamt I them all my life. My husband and I (high school sweethearts) are finally at a point in our lives where we are trying to get pregnant with our first child. It feels overwhelming and surreal that we are at this place in life where my only real dream could come true. Thank you for writing this post – I am so excited to hopefully be where you are someday!


    23. your blog has quickly become one of my faves because of authentic posts like this one…I love being a mom more than anything, but this week was so hard. Thanks for this precious reminder….making the choice this morning to be present, hug more, and thankful for this precious time….

    24. Such a beautifully written letter. I have the same dream of being a mommy, after college I never really had a career goal like most. I always tell my fiancé that my calling is to be a mother. I just look forward to the day that I have my own little ducklings to lead. Thanks :)

    25. You so eloquently caputered my feelings; ones I didn’t know how to communicate. Thank you for this magical post. I love your DIY posts (i am in the middle of making tutus and felt flower hairbows for friends of my boys as I write this) but this post is so special. Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

    26. That is so beautiful! You are an absolutely wonderful mother! HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!! Enjoy the whole weekend with all of your blessings :)

    27. Wow! You put my feelings in to words perfectly! I’m living my dream doing what I’ve always wanted to do and loving (most) every minute of it wishing time would slow down. At the same time wondering if I’m doing all I can to help them be their best and love the Lord with all their hearts. Thank you. It’s nice to know someone else feels the same way. Happy Mother’s Day!!

    28. Thank you for that. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful, personal reflection. So many aspects of your experience resonate with me. I smiled and I cried as I was reading. My children are the greatest gift ever, and I thank you for reminding me of that this morning. Happy Mother’s Day to you, Emily!

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