i am yours, and you are mine


On this day three years ago, Austin entered our lives in the darkness of early morning. This is the day I became a mother. This is the day I appreciated my own mother more than I ever had in my life. This is the day I learned the true definition of unconditional love.

Before we had children, I never held babies. Really. Never. I can name a single occasion that I held a baby without coercion from a friend or family member. They were such fragile, foreign creatures, and, frankly, I didn’t know what to do with them. Even while six months pregnant with our first, I reluctantly held a friend’s newborn. Needless to say, I was hoping this natural mothering instinct would kick in fast.

Every night, the hubs and I would lie in bed, watching Austin have a party in my tummy. We would talk to him. We would sing to him. We would pray for him. But, it still didn’t feel real.

Then, at 34 weeks pregnant, I started having contractions. Real contractions. I was given a steroid shot to speed up his lung development, and, immediately placed on bed rest in hopes that he would cook a little longer. That’s about the point I realized my time was up. I’m about to be a mom.

Much to the doctor’s surprise, that little boy held out for another four weeks, and, at 38 weeks pregnant, our precious Austin entered this world with a little bit of oxygen and only minor complications. As I cradled him for the very first time, my fears of inadequacy and instincts drifted away. I memorized every inch of his face in a split second, and I stared in awe at this amazing gift from God.

I was a mother, a mom, a mommy. I am his mommy for now and always.

Often we debate whether a woman becomes a mother during pregnancy or at birth or even after. There is no correct answer. Everyone comes to it in their own time. For me, there is no question. While I understood the concept of becoming a mother while pregnant, my complete heart and soul were not there until I looked into Austin’s big, beautiful eyes for the first time. There is no doubt I loved my child before he was born, but I believe becoming a mother is more than a label.

The day I became a mom, I knew it. I felt it. It became a part of me. My heart was fuller than I knew possible. He was mine to love, to kiss, to teach, to guide, to share. I knew I would do anything for my child.

On this day three years ago, I never could have imagined what the next few years would hold. Most days are incredibly hard. But, even on the hardest of days, that sweet giggle or impromptu “I love you” from the mouth of your child renews our spirit and gives us strength. The strength to love them unconditionally.

What an incredible gift to be called mom.

You, my sweet Austin, fill my life with laughter and pure love. You teach me. You open my eyes to see. You bring joy and light to a world full of darkness. I am blessed to be your mother. I am yours, and you are mine. Always.

drowning in icing


Another year. Another birthday. Another party.

I get a little too excited about my kids’ birthday parties. But, by the end, that excitement turns into a stress mess and nothing ends quite how I envisioned.

Today, I find myself at Michael’s – the 12th store on my places to go for birthday supplies. I’ve gathered the basics, but Pinterest always makes me feel one step… or, 10 steps… behind. I should try for more.

I went in searching for race car-themed cupcake decor because I was having trouble finding exactly what I wanted. There are 50 million different shades and designs of pink and purple, but boy themes are in short supply. Thankfully, I located the perfect cupcake liners quickly, but, then, I saw the cakes. There was a car-shaped cake tin. How much would Austin LOVE this? It would be adorable. I could decorate the cars AND do cupcakes. Sugar overload, but who cares? I could just imagine how impressive this whole setup could be. I was going to rock this party.

I stand in line, attempting to keep one child from breaking every single glass vase lining the walkway and the other from nose diving from the basket seat. Finally, we are next, and I lug the basket to the counter where I quickly remove the items. Then, I stop.

There I am, drowning in $30 worth of specialty icing and a couple car-shaped tins, along with other party “necessities” and various craft projects that most likely will never be accomplished. That’s about the time reality slapped me in the face. What am I thinking?

Why do I turn every birthday party into a circus and stress myself? This is a party. It’s supposed to be fun. We are not celebrating me or my crafts or how many Pinterest projects I can cram into a party.

We are celebrating my son – my sweet, loving little boy. Another year of life that the Lord has blessed us with. Another year of laughter, tears, hugs and kisses. We are celebrating Austin. And, to be honest, he doesn’t care about a single thing that I’m doing for his party except for the fact that there will be friends, there will be cars and there will be chocolate. And, that is enough.

That is enough. It’s hard to wrap my head around that thought. We try so hard to make sure our children have the best of everything. But, some things, like birthday parties, really don’t matter. So, maybe if I step back and take a lesson from my three-year-old, it could save me from a few gray hairs down the road. Instead of stressing over logistics and decorations, I’m going to try to let it go and just enjoy. Get ready. It’s time to party like a three-year-old.