No One Told Me It Would Be This Hard

She returns from a long day of school and plops her too-heavy backpack on the counter, grabs a honey crisp apple and heads to her room. My table used to be her sanctuary, my presence her guide. But I hear her bedroom door close and I wonder at the other woman who lives upstairs and seeks solace rather than mother.

Her flute keeps her busy and now basketball practice and games. She babysits for family friends and studies in-between.

How did we get here so quickly?

She is growing up and I feel the world pulling her away.

My grip is loosening. She wants more freedom, I’m slowly learning to give it.

But no one told me watching your daughter become a woman would be so hard.

Or so beautiful.

Her little sister in her shadow, these two strong girls cut from the same strong mold, both turning a year older, one shadowing the other.

They are my daughters.

They take my breath away with their drama and demands one minute and I’m humbled by their love of others the next.

My youngest adding the Muslims of the world to her bedtime prayers and my oldest carries the burden of knowing the pain in our world…I see it when she questions if child slaves made her costume jewelry.

It’s hard fitting back into junior high girl stuff when your world has been expanded. We navigate these uncomfortable waters together. I’ve introduced my children to The Struggle (the one I wrestle with daily).  At 6, my little one doesn’t know any difference and I’m proud her heart knows no limits.

We do the mother daughter dance and we have good days and bad ones. We say things we regret in anger, we forgive in the quiet places. We live with passion because we don’t know another way.

I try to remember how my mom and I journeyed this road. I know why she cried when I left (and maybe rejoiced a little).

And rejoiced each time I returned (and maybe cried a little).

My baby reads now and has a wiggly tooth. She is hardly a baby, but when she brings me a book or asks me to pick out her clothes, I answer. Because she’ll go thru a period of not asking or liking my answers.

I let go of my daughters a little more every day.

Because I know they will return to me.

As my friends.




  1. 5


    i have boys. and all of a sudden their voices are deep and there is extra hair and i’m the weakest person in the house. and how did we get here?

  2. 6


    Amazingly beautiful post! As the mother of 4 girls ages 13,11,6 and 18 months, I am literally living out your words. Plus, my family and I serve in the MIddle East among M’slim peoples. Thank you for giving them that awareness. It’s so hard but they will be beautifully, strong women because of it! Blessings today!

  3. 7

    nanette lynch says

    Mine are now 26 and 22 and are amazing friends to me.
    Stand firm in your beliefs and family rules and in the end, you all will be blessed.
    Merry Christmas to your sweet family.

  4. 8

    AmyG says

    This was beautiful & I cried reading it. I don’t want my girls to grow up, but I see the changes & know it’s coming & I have to let them go.

  5. 10

    Carol Darden says

    It is an amazing journey. My daughters are grown with their own families now and they are amazing moms & wives and I’m so proud. The ever-changing road of motherhood is so hard sometimes, but so worth it. My daughters are my friends. I love to talk with them and spend time with them. And what you say is true, no one told me it would be so hard. Another thing no one ever told me – you NEVER stop being a parent. You change, your roll changes, but it’s still there, the parenting. They’ll come to you in their adulthood, because you’ve nurtured the relationship now, in their childhood.

  6. 12


    Beautiful post. This made me cry at work this morning. I have a two-year-old daughter, she is already growing up too fast. I can’t imagine the teenage years and the ups and downs that come with. What a blessing to have a daughter!!

  7. 13

    beth says

    I wasn’t read for crying so early this morning! You should put warnings on these things!
    My almost 8 year old just called to me to show me her “pregnant” belly as she stood over the blowing heat vent. Do you suppose that will be the day full of the most rejoicing?
    Bless you and your family.

  8. 14


    I am crying over here. I have three girls. My heart hurts at the thought of them leaving me. I hope you are right Kristen, I hope they return as friends.

  9. 15

    Alison S says

    I do not have daughters, but I can vouch for this- My Mother is truly my friend now- because she did not try to be my friend until I was an adult.

  10. 17


    Beautiful and hard to read! My girls are 4 and 2 and I cannot imagine that I will blink and this time will be gone. Thank you for sharing about it.

  11. 19

    Kathryn says

    This absolutely brought tears to my eyes. My mom is one of my closest friends, and I hope to have that with my daughter (now 2 years old). The mother daughter relationship is so precious, and I pray often that Emma and I can have what my mom and I have. Thank you!

  12. 20


    I have a precious 3 1/2 year old daughter who clings to me so much it can be frustrating – she loves her mama! I know it will end quickly, and that’s hard to imagine!

  13. 24


    My mom is my best friend, and now at 25 I look back on those seasons together and wish we could have known how absolutely wonderful it would be now. it is so sweet to enter into the other side (just in a shallow way, I know) by reading about your parenting journey — so inspiring and so humbling. I know my drama and demands must have taken my mother’s breath away, too, but she loved me so fiercely and still shapes SO much of the woman I strive to be. Thanks for sharing, as always! xo Kim

  14. 26

    Heather says

    WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! This is so beautiful and brought me to tears. I often look at my husband, when dealing with our almost 7 year old, and ask “We will make it through this, won’t we?”. And then like you said I am struck by her intelligence, her humor, her own little amazing unique personality. And I want the world for her, even when she is driving me crazy!

  15. 30


    Beautiful. I only have a baby boy for now, but i can only imagine how difficult it would be to not have him need me as much…to feel him pull away. Yet it’s beautiful because it’s all a part of the process and i hear the lighter the grip the more they come back as a friend, but the tighter the grip the more they stay away. You unearthed this truth eloquently. Thanks for your post,

  16. 31

    Jan says

    Perfect words!!!! Now if you’ll excuse me I need to dab away my tears. You see my daughters are grown and I miss the days of seeing them on a regular basis. Our long talks and the things we would laugh about. Enjoy these times.

  17. 32


    Beautiful! I was talking about the patchiness of the ornaments on our Christmas tree (it was decorated by a 3 and 5 year old), and someone asked me if I went behind them and fixed it. I said “no” because I’ll have many years for a perfect tree, but oh so few of this. Thanks for the reminder!

  18. 33

    Jen says

    Beautifully written! I have 4 daughters ages 13, 0, 7, and 6 and I am doing this dance with my two oldest and treasuring those special times with the younger two as I have a much better sense of how quickly those younger years go by! I never knew how challenging it would be giving the older ones more freedom and dealing with the emotional roller coaster rides of their highs and lows. Yet is amazing seeing glimpses of them becoming the women God created them to be. It all goes by so fast!

  19. 35


    so sweet. My daughter is only 5 months old, but I’m terrified. I want that relationship with her, but it is so frightening to try to raise her and teach her the things she needs to know.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>