Things Moms Say

things moms say

Her boys were just little guys and my first baby unborn when we made our Mother Covenant. At the time, my belly was swollen and there were blocks and toys scattered on the grandparents living room floor.

But it’s a day I’ll never forget: it’s the day my sister-in-law and I vowed to raise each other’s kids if anything ever happened to either of us.

It’s the necessary kind of stuff no one likes to talk about. It’s the hard part of living and most of our words and promises never happen. But we make our plans to try and control the uncontrollable. It’s all an illusion, this grasp on life and the future, but it makes us feel better about the unknown.

Years passed. More babies were born under our roof and her little boys grew. With each year, my sister-in-law and friend fought Diabetes. And even though she grew sicker, she never gave up. She never stopped singing. She never stopped laughing. She never stopped loving. She wanted to live. She wanted to raise her boys and love her husband.

But instead she passed away suddenly 5 months ago last week. The same week her sons, now 15 and 19 years old, with their big 6’5 bodies hanging off twin mattresses, slept under my roof.

I can see the toll five long months have had on these nephews. They are hungry for a mother’s love and all I can think about is the promise I made to their momma so many years ago. These boys aren’t mine; they were here for just a week and returned to their loving dad and home. I wanted them to hear the things their Mom would say to them.

But she couldn’t, so I did. For the week, they were mine.

Like most moms, I get tired of saying the same things over and over to my kids. I just want them to listen! I grow weary of the monotony of motherhood some days. But when I say the things moms do– to boys who long to hear instruction and encouragement, love and discipline from their mother–it makes every mother word sacred:

  • Stop picking on your brother
  • Put on more sunscreen
  • Can you carry that box for me?
  • How did you get so tall?
  • Here, have another serving. Eat more.
  • I love you
  • [no words, only a quiet hug]
  • Bring me the aloe vera and I’ll put it on your sunburn
  • Come get your shoes
  • Next time, use more sunscreen
  • Yes, you can have more food
  • Do you have enough money?
  • Leave your brother alone
  • Do you have dirty laundry?
  • Did you just toot?
  • Stop taking selfies on my cell phone
  • Yes, I’ll read what you wrote
  • I love you
  • Don’t crush your cousin in the “sandwich hug”


I treated them just like my own. Instead of resisting my mothering, they were like sponges. It broke my heart and made my day. I know their momma was smiling, whole and healed from Heaven. But she is missed everyday and left a gaping whole, mother-size.

Before we took the boys to the airport, my husband and I held hands with our nephews in the kitchen and took turns praying over them and asking God to heal the broken places. We all dreamed and talked about more time together, even though a thousand miles separate us.

And then we let them go.

It was a simple reminder of how precious life is. We aren’t promised tomorrow. We must make today count.

Because it does. Count.

Motherhood is not about being a good mother or how we handle the hard moments; it’s about being what no one else can be: your child’s mother. [<———Click to tweet]

We must look for the joy in the little things we say and do.

Because Mom? They are a big deal to our kids. 



  1. 1


    That made me tear up. I am so sorry for the loss you all have gone through, but so happy your have been true to your word and given those boys what they needed most: love!

  2. 3

    Kathie Mathews says

    Thank you for posting this. I lost my best friend 3 years ago and have hesitated showing her sons the motherly affection that I wanted to because I didn’t want them to think that I was trying to take her place. I love them dearly and they love me too, but didn’t want to overtep my bounds. Maybe I was TOO distant. Thanks again for sharing. God Bless!

  3. 4

    Jenny Brown says

    This made me cry. Thank you for always being so real. I ache for babies (of all ages) who have lost a parent, through death, divorce, or what-have-you. We have a precious family at church who just lost their daddy, in his early 30s, suddenly. Left behind 4 babies, from age 11 to under 1 year. I just want to scoop them all up and make it all better. Including the mama. *sigh*

  4. 5


    I literally just resigned from my job to stay home with my kids and was feeling a little uneasy. Your last line is so encouraging. You’re right, I am the only one that can be their mom and am embracing that with all I have!

  5. 6

    Taylor Coleman says

    Couldn’t have been said any better! Kristen, your family is a blessing to us in this time of the loss of our mother. We appreciate your kind words, hospitality, and of course posting the picture of our sandwich!

  6. 8


    Tears when reading this today. I lost my BFF two years ago and had her two kiddos over Saturday while their dad moved them out of their old house where they’d lived with their mom and to a new one more convenient for daily grandma help. They ended up spending the night so I had over 24 hours with them, and found myself “mothering” them just as she would, and they did lap it up. The youngest, who got fussed at the most, could hardly let me go when it was time to say good-bye. Tore my heart in two.

  7. 9

    Kelly says

    My mom died when I was little and I’ve always said that NO ONE can take her place, BUT I’m so very thankful for the many women who have stepped in and mentored, loved and helped to fill the “mom-size” hole in my life.

  8. 10

    Aunt Mel says

    I know Nathan and Taylor LOVED last week with you, Terrell, and the kids. They posted everyday, everything on FB. LOL.

    Love you guys!

  9. 11


    Okay I am definitely pregnant style hormonal, but this seriously made me cry. My sister and I had that same conversation as I was pregnant with my first and she was battling an angry 2 year old. We made that pact to lovingly raise each others’ children if anything happened, to show them a mommy’s love, to show them God’s love, to discipline them when need be. My heart is broken about your sister-in-law, but I know that the beautiful work you are doing in those boys’ lives is exactly what would warm her heart. I’m praying for you

  10. 14

    Neva says

    With tears in my eyes, I read each of “mother’s words” and thought how many of them I did say this weekend to my 2 boys. Thank you for reminding me that these are sacred words, words that my boys not only need to hear, but actually at some level truly enjoy hearing. My sons are adopted 3.75 years ago from Russia and are bio brothers that are 6.5 years in age difference. I love that you started with “Stop picking on your brother!” My dearest sister in the Lord, the God-mother to my boys is battling cancer for the third time. We made this pack when my boys came home. My husband and I have thought through who might parent our children if God took us home, and I am relieved that we do have others in our life that we can entrust with the upbringing of our children. Your SIL is smiling in heaven, and you can be blessed by being there for her boys!

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