Today I’m celebrating my youngest daughter’s 8 years of life and reveling in the fact that I’m a mom 8 times over. 7 at home with me and 1 at home with my Savior, but mommy to them all. 

My babies aren’t all babies anymore. Parenting is more than kissing owies, changing diapers, brushing little teeth, midnight feedings, and bedtime stories and picking up a million-and-one messes per day. It’s asking open questions about texting, it’s making them think about what’s appropriate interaction with the opposite sex, and helping them discover what and why their beliefs are. I look at my oldest kids and I see myself, I see them learning to be adults right in front of me and I see the days tick by until they really will be on their own. And my heart thrills. And my heart aches. 

Today at church, I was changing my littlest treasure and a sweet 90 year old came over, commenting how long it had been since she’d heard small cries. She said she missed the little age and that what she missed most was sitting in her wooden rocker and how those tiny littles would curl into her shoulder, and she could literally feel their life as they breathed gently, safely in her arms. 

My eyes filled because I knew that I would be her one day. Sitting and rocking with only memories. I see the stages slipping by and I love them, each of them. But as long as I have breath, may my arms ever be full of life as I give my own life away. Whether it’s snuggling my grands and great-grands or tinies at church, or mentoring youth, or looking into the eyes of another mama and reminding her that she is a world-changer. I pray that I will never decide that my time for loving and investing is over. 

Today, I have the pleasure of walking shoulder to shoulder with my older kids as they navigate real life, while also blissfully exhausted with late night feedings, potty-training, and nail polish and princesses and swords and blanket forts. My treasures have blessed me with much and I pray that I never forget the lessons I’m learning from this vantage point. 

Whatever stage you find yourself, do not stop investing. Hearts need you. Tiny ones, teenage ones, 30’s and 60’s and 80 year old hearts need you. If we aren’t living to give ourselves away, then we’ve missed the point of living altogether, whether you’re a mother or not. 

As I finish writing this, my 6 month old is curled up on my shoulder. I feel his life as he breaths in and out. My oldest two wave as they head out to hang with friends, and I feel their life in their laughter. My middles-in-between dance to and fro, and I feel their life in their creativity. I see my 90 year old friend’s eyes, and I feel her life, with so much left still to give away.

Mother or not!