What Every Mother Longs to Tell Her Son

I sent him off to camp for 4 days with his big sister and a bunch of friends from church. He packed his own duffle bag and I double checked it, adding socks and a toothbrush, not necessities to an 11 year old boy. When I arrived at the camp to get my kids, I spotted him in a group of boys who needed to brush down cowlicks and change shirts. He smiled when he saw me and hugged me–with his eyes. We both know our limitations in front of his peers.

Once we were home, stories and adventures spilled out from my weary kids coming down from a camp high. For the rest of the day, everywhere I turned, my son was my shadow. He sat next to me while I paid bills. He followed me into the kitchen and asked me where I was going every time I stood up. I gave him a questioning look (after I answered the bathroom at one point). “Mom, I just want to be with you.”


When nurses handed me that blue bundle of baby boy, I fell in love with his dark eyes and curly black locks. Β It didn’t take me long to understood the other moms who said, “Oh, a boy? There’s nothing like the mother-son relationship.” Β As he grew into a toddler, he bedazzled the world with his friendly waves and honest (often embarrassing) questions and comments. He tried to take everything apart with a hammer and put it back together with a screwdriver. He let his sister dress him like a princess and his dad dress him like a future athlete. I birthed the most easy-going, kind son a mother has ever known.

We sat next to each other in church the other day. He stands shoulder to shoulder to me now, knee to knee, constantly measuring to see if he’s taller (any day now). As he sang, I watched his adam’s apple bob, his handsome profile looking more tween than boy. I thought of his constant, sometimes annoying, noises and sounds, the way he still is the first to ask me how my day was and how he notices every time I wear something new. I thought about how he tenderly held babies in Kenya, how he can’t walk by the piano in the living room without playing the Star Wars theme song and how much I loved watching him fall in love with archery this year.

I felt the bubble of emotion well up, sitting there, taking in my son and I felt sad that more than half his time at home is over. I leaned over and whispered in his Daddy’s ear, “I wish we had more sons” and the words caught and I had to blink away tears.

My son looked at me then, not hearing what I’d said or seeing how my heart was swelling with love. I patted his hand. He didn’t look around to see who might see. He didn’t push my hand away. He held on. We sat the rest of the service hand-in-hand.

In those moments, without words, this is what I said to my only son:

I am the first girl you hugged.

I am the first girl you kissed.

I am the first girl you made laugh.

I am the first girl you made cry.

I am the first girl you hurt.

I am the first girl you held.

I am the first girl you tried to impress.

I am the first girl you flirted with.

I am the first girl you called pretty.

I am your mother.

No matter where you go in this life–how far you fly away from me–nothing will change that I was your first love.


  1. 1


    As a mama of 2 boys of my own this has got me in tears. Love.it. My eldest always notices when I wear something new & my youngest always tells me he loves my hair:). They are going to make great husbands someday. Sounds like your boy will too!

  2. 4


    Well, Kristen, thanks for making me bawl like a baby. πŸ˜‰

    I have two boys, 13 and 10. They are growing and changing so fast. Too fast.

  3. 6

    Kysia says

    Wow! Powerful! My once 11 year old is now almost 16. He heads in to be a sophomore in less than three weeks. By December he will drive himself to school. He is 1/2 a foot taller than me and I cherish every moment spent with him (even the difficult ones) especially as college mail begins to creep in. Thanks for sharing.

  4. 7


    Thank you for this post. I’m having a rough week, thus far, and I’ve been too short tempered with my family, including my beautiful 2.5 yo son. Sometimes you just need a reminder, a nudge, to say ‘Hey, God gave you this perfect, little gift, and he’s grinning ear to ear just for you!’ despite him standing in spilled milk all over his body and the living room carpet. Just let go, and let God.
    I needed a good,cleansing cry this morning. Thank you!

  5. 8

    Tonya Ingram says

    Wow….tears and more tears. My sons are 9 & 10 and although they didn’t go to camp this summer, I hope they can next summer and I envision something like this happening. Boys are awesome. Great post.

  6. 9

    Kristi says

    I have 3 sons. My oldest is 20. I am crying too! That has been my exact experience! I love my boys!! All but the youngest have outgrown me! It’s hard to get old and watch your kids grow up, but we will always have been “the first!”

  7. 10


    Oh my…this is beautiful and my eyes are full of tears and they sting.

    My boy is 9 1/2. Oh how I love him. My heart aches with love for him. He was especially sweet yesterday. Constantly underfoot, wanting lots of hugs. Last night he curled into my lap as I was working sore muscles out in my daughters aching soccer player legs. It was a precious time.

    Have you ever heard “I Loved Her First” by Heartland? I cry every time I hear this song. I think you’ll like it :)

  8. 11


    You really know how to make a girl cry πŸ˜‰ – apparently many girls cry! I have three sons, and so honored to be adored by all of them. You are right to say there is nothing like the bond between mother and son. My oldest will turn 18 in November and graduate from high school in May – seems like yesterday he stole my heart when he was born. The others are 11 and 10, and growing way too fast. Cherishing every moment :)

  9. 12

    JenniferE says

    Tears for sure. I love how you can put into words what most of us are feeling!! You are gifted.

  10. 13


    I have four sons and my oldest is 12. I’m having a lot of these kinds of moments lately. With my oldest, they are almost exactly like yours. With my youngest who is 2 they are with a clinging sort of urgency to cling to each moment I have because I have finally realized “they” were right… it’s goes so fast.

  11. 14

    Mel says

    Tearing up reading this, as I am due any day with my first son. After 8 years of raising girls, I was a bit overwhelmed to find out we were having a boy. He has grown so strongly in my heart and now I can’t wait to raise this little one. I hope my relationship with him is as sweet as yours is with your son!

  12. 15


    I too have one son, he is a bit older, going on 39. But I know your words to be true! There is no other relationship like the one between mother and son, and as a son will age and take on his own life, it remains.

  13. 17


    Kristen, this is exactly what I needed to read this morning. My pregnant hormones got the best of me, as tears dribble down my cheeks now. You see, I’ve been having so many thoughts about being able to really connect with my due-any-day son, so this really hit home and encouraged me as a soon-to-be mom to a boy. Little girls are a piece of cake, since I’ve been there before, but the world of sons seems so unfamiliar. Thank you.

  14. 19

    Vanessa Blythe Caldwell says

    Great! now I’m crying! I should know better than to read your posts in public :)
    In all seriousness though, Thank you for sharing that, it was beautiful, and oh so true.

  15. 21

    Leah says

    My son will be 30 in a couple of weeks. He is a fashion photographer in NYC, we live in Washington State. He travels all over the world with his amazing, exciting job and I am very happy that he is happy. I keep all of his voice mails so I can replay them when I miss his voice. I check the news every time he flys, just because. We text often just to wish each other a beautiful day and say I miss and love you. He comes home twice a year; August and December. Our August visit is coming up; getting ready to have his favorite foods and making the house fresh and nice for him. I get hugs galore for a week, get to hear about his adventures, laugh at all his hilarious stories and share him with family and friends. This time we get to meet his new girlfriend who flys in for a few days to accompany him to his cousins wedding, as he is the best man. I agree with all you poetically say about being his first girl. A mother’s heart never changes in the overflowing love for her son. We grow older, life moves us through rich experiences, good and bad, however the memories of our children through the years are solidified within our hearts forever and sustain us no matter how many miles separate. I will be looking at his profile and taking those mental pictures every moment I can for that week in August and thanking God for blessing me with my boy!

  16. 22


    LOVE THIS!! My little guy will be 7 next month and I have tears in my eyes. My son is sensitive, loving and quite attached to me (unlike his little sister who is Miss Independent)

  17. 23

    KW says

    My oldest (and first born) son has decided this week that he wants to live with his dad in another town. The thought of being away from him is just killing me because, like you, I was blessed with an easy going, good kid. I have a much younger son and he reminds me so very much of my oldest at that age. I only hope that he realizes the impact he has made on my world and that this opportunity for change is a blessing to him.
    Thanks for the post – this is one that I will keep close to my heart.

  18. 25

    Katie G says

    As a mom of 3 boys… I totally understand. Sure made me a little weepy. I am also very glad that you did not actually verbally tell your son those things.

  19. 26

    Melissa says

    My little guy is 2 years old. This morning he was extra cuddly and I just held on (even though I had to pee soooo bad) and enjoyed it. I did not say a word afraid to break the spell and just silently prayed for him. Thanks for (happy, blessed) tears for the second time today over my little man.

  20. 27

    Sylvia says

    Beautiful, beautiful post. My son (and only child) is celebrating his birthday today. He lives far from us and we miss terribly. We will talk on the phone some time today and I will do my best to hold back the tears. It won’t be easy. But, he gets really upset when I cry. I agree that there is a special mom/son relationship; cherish and embrace it.

  21. 28

    Heather says

    Well I’m glad I’m not the only one bawling here! LOVE this!! So very sweet ans sentimental!

  22. 29

    Ashli says

    I just wanted to say how touched I was by this post and that it made me feel so connected and close to my soon to be first born son. I just found out Tuesday and I have been wanting to “find my place” as a first time mother. I feel like my husband has an instant place, but now I know that my place has always been there, just as you desscribed and it makes me so incredibly happy and grateful to you for showing me a glimpse of what I’m about to have given to me! :)

  23. 30

    FDJ says

    As a mother of 2 boys, well men now, ages 31 and 28! This also made me cry. I remember those wonderful days when I was the “one” they called for, looked for, talked to, etc. The time goes much too quickly and I cannot impress enough on all you young mothers out there how much you need to enjoy those boys! They will make you cry, they will make you proud, and sometimes they even make a crack in your heart, but they will always be “your boy(s)” and you will always be their first love! I still have a wonderful relationship with my boys, and hope I have raised them to be great spouses and fathers. Time will tell!

  24. 31

    DEWEY says

    I have 1 son, in his 30’s. He is my only child. I have had no greater love in my life than what I feel for him.
    He has been there to help nurse me back from a fractured hip/femur, makes me carry my cell phone even when I
    walk around in our yard. He calls me at work to check on me. He never hangs up the phone or walks out of the
    house without saying “I love you”. He’s funny, charming and sincere. He ruffles my hair when I sit in my recliner.
    He checks the oil and air pressure in my car. My heart swells almost to the point of bursting when I watch him interact with others. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without him.
    (He’s also single and back in college to get his BS in nursing) LOL

    • 31.1


      I am in tears this is so true absolutely beautiful .I have a son he is now 25year old I cannot put into words the love my son & I have As I was told by my Ma when I was having my son he is a gift & that he is . A mother & son relationship is unbreakable. My husband has said to me many times if I could of had another son do I think I could love & cherish him as much as our Golden Boy as his dad calls him no matter how many children I have I would always love them the same & he also has two older sisters who love cherish & protect him. Thank you so much xoxo

  25. 32


    Love this!!!! I have 3 sons and two are grown. My youngest is 13. I cant believe how fast time has gone by. We truly need to treasure every moment.

  26. 33


    This truly brought a host of long ago memories of my older son….. He was my only child for 11 yrs…. till his little brother was born. Sadly tho’, his little brother was not the “regular little rugrat ” but, a very ” special ” child God sent to me to care for…. During the time of my pregnancy, my older son, named the mane he thought would be the best, I asked him why?….. His response was , “well… he will replace me when I am gone from home ” . Little did he know that the name he mentioned was the name I had already chosen !!! Talk about connections! Well….. now he is 40 yrs old… younger brother just turned 30 yrs, old.! The best present and memory I will go to my grave with , was when my older son called and wanted to take him to lunch for his b/day ! Imagine that ! He went to pick up his lttle brother from his special program and, I just sat and bawled knowing this was the happiest yet sad, yet…. confusing as to which way was I to take this ~!~ I finally realized this was in The Master’s Plan , and that is all I had to believe on~! Thank you for sharing this wonderful story, I know all of us truly Mothers who have our hearts and committments and dedication to God, as He said , ” we only have our children for a little while “.

  27. 34

    Cindi says

    My only child, a son, just turned 26 and this brought tears to my eyes. I don’t care how old he gets somebody messes with him I will probably get my butt whooped but I’d give it a good shot. He’s the joy of my life.

  28. 35



    My son turns 12 at the end of next month. Not a kid and not a man–each day we work out our new roles. He often has “shadow” days and I’m totally ok with that. I just want him to know that I’ll always be here for him–I tell him I love him and ask permission to gush over him . . . we are working on being respectful of setting boundaries.

    Be Blessed.

  29. 36

    Trista says

    Oh Kristen, how those words touch me today. I also have two daughters and only one precious son right in the middle. Not a day goes by that I don’t look at him and treasure his sweetness. All the while praying that he finds a girl to marry someday who will love him and cherish him the way that I do. How precious are our only sons. Beautiful post. Thank you!

    • 36.1

      Trista says

      Oh, and he always holds my hand during church. I secretly hope he never ever stops.

  30. 37


    My youngest son is 11; his voice is changing, he’s taller than me, and he no longer wants me to tuck him into bed at night. But every night he comes to me to say good night, and I have to hug him and pray over him, that he will have not have a hard time falling asleep and that he will stay asleep all night. Every night, it’s the same prayer, but he insists on it. At first I was impatient, but now I realize this is my last chance to spend these precious minutes with him each night, so I put aside my homework, stop doing the dishes, put down the book I’m reading or whatever other thing seemed so important at the time and give him my full attention. He’s at the age where I’m starting to drop him off at the beach with the youth group, where he is starting to ask if he can go to the movies with just a couple of guy friends, and if I insist on accompanying them, if I could please sit the other end of the theater. But he still starts each day by wrapping his arms around me, and ends each day the same way, asking me to pray over him. So precious. My 19 year old son no longer initiates hugs, but when I do hug him, he squeezes me tight and I kick myself for not finding more excuses to hug him. Man-child that he is, he still needs his Mom, still needs to know that I love him, that I’m proud of him, and that I think he’s okay. I have a feeling this never changes. And I have a feeling that we Moms might miss out on some of the most important relationships of our lives if we don’t realize this about our sons!