For Every Mother’s Daughter

It was more than an hour past her bedtime and she appeared at the edge of our bedroom door. Again. It had been the same dance all summer. And my feet were tired.

What I really wanted to do was point my finger and march her back to bed.

But I knew one day she would stay in bed.

She saw my indecision and her lip trembled.

So instead I invited her to come to me. She walked slowly to the side of my bed. Her face streaked with tears and I knew she was afraid again.


As soon as I tenderly touched her, the sobs came and I held her. What is it baby? I whispered. And the what if’s poured out…

What if your car breaks down? What if you can’t pick me up? What if you don’t come? What if I am alone?

Her fear was unfounded, irrational–this fear of being left and forgotten. I tried to calm, convince, comfort. But fear doesn’t make sense.

And in the moonlight, I knew this fear was bigger than even a mother’s love. I longed to promise her the world, give her everything, except pain and heartbreak, and guarantee life wouldn’t allow her what if’s

This moment-this was the astonishing hard place of motherhood.

Because I knew deep down from her first breath, the second the cord was cut, she breathed on her own and her first steps away from me came too quickly.

It happened with my own mother and I, she curled my hair every Sunday until I was 9 and then in a blink, I walked down the aisle into my best friend’s arms. I never looked back. Years later as I labored with this same daughter, my body racked with pain, doctors concerned, my mom chased my bed down the hall as they prepped me for an emergency c-section. Later she told me how she trembled and vomited in the bathroom…It was hard watching her baby have a baby. I can’t remember much about that day, but I remember her there for me. Always.

And I thought of this as I held my baby, trying to calm her fear, yet knowing life and love, living would come between the two of us. I’ve watched her older sister transform right before my eyes into a beautiful young lady and I can’t stop time or her steps away from me no matter how hard I try.

Last week my twin sister left her oldest daughter at college and I witnessed the gut-wrenching truth of letting your child fly. It’s a beautiful anguish, this growing up, for the mother and the daughter.

I looked my darling girl straight in the eyes and I spoke to her fear, the way a mother does with a daughter: I will be here when you sleep, when you wake, when you come and go. With every ounce of my strength, I will always be here for you.

Then Truth came because it must: And when I am not with you in bed when you can’t sleep or at school when you feel alone or when I don’t understand your fear, when I can’t fix your problems or protect you from mistakes, when your marriage is hard and your life brings sorrow and your feet are weary from the dance of  motherhood, who is with you?

She whispered His name: Jesus.

Yes, I said. Because He gave you to me and I gave you back to Him.

And when I can’t be there, He is. Always.

For the first time in months, she slept like a baby.

Because no matter how tall she grows or how far away she flies, that’s what she will always be to me.


  1. 3


    Oh my heart. This is truth and this is beauty put onto a page. I am so grateful to you for writing this post. I wish I could tell you in full detail how grateful I am. I’m going to lay with my baby girl in her little bed and speak Truth and peace over her right this minute. Thank you. This is beautiful.

  2. 6

    Robin says

    Tears again Kristen! That was so beautifully written. Thank you for the reminder that Jesus is always there.

  3. 10


    Oh Kristen! This is SO my season. My oldest took her first steps into high school, my second into middle school, and I kept my youngest at home for one more year because my mama heart couldn’t handle the thought of a freshman and a kindergartener in the same year. :/

  4. 11

    Lisa Nicolay says


    Thank you for this beautiful, lovely story. I have raised 3 daughters. Now all grown. My youngest was just like the daughter you describe. There are times I wish I could turn back the hands of time and relive or redo those moments with my girls when they were young. Young mothers… Don’t take the words lightly… “Cherish these moments.” They truly go by quickly. I will be giving my middle daughter away at her wedding in just 5 weeks( first one to be married). I have been searching for the perfect words to say… And your story has inspired me. Thank you!! God bless!!

  5. 13


    Oh, Kristen. Back-to-school seemed so far away the past two summers when my baby was really just a baby. But now that he’s two-and-a-half, it seems SO close … too close.

    Reading about your mama’s experience as she ached with watching you have your baby brought tears to my eyes … as did your account of E’s breathing out the name of Jesus. You are training up your children well, Kristen. Keep reminding them of their Best Friend, who is with them, with us, always.

  6. 15


    The Lord has given you such beautiful words to communicate your feelings and thoughts. I have experienced all the emotions you have talked about and one more. The hardest one in my life was holding my 31 year old special needs daughter in my arms waiting for her final breath. Knowing that she would wake up in Jesus’ arms helped immensely but the pain still comes for us left here on earth. Hold your daughters as long as you can and keep teaching them about Jesus and His love. Keep writing!

  7. 17


    Thank you for the hard-yet-sweet-yet-true words. I do not have a daughter this side of heaven, but this is exactly what my sweet mama always tried to communicate to me. She’s with Jesus now. And Jesus is with me :)

  8. 19

    Karolyn says

    You so touch the center of motherhood and nail exactly how these and other moments feel. I thank God for gifting you in such a way that you can share your heart so beautifully with us!

  9. 20

    Kari says

    Thank you for this….my daughter has had a rough summer when it comes to fears. We live close to the tornado destruction in Moore and although her school was not the one hit it was within a few hundred feet of her school. She has struggled with fears and we have done all we know to help. Thanks for the reminder that just loving her and holding her close and reminding her that no matter what Jesus is with her is what we need to do. Thanks for sharing.

  10. 22

    amy says

    I’m 41 and my mom just recently told me how hard it was for her to leave me at college. I wish she had told me sooner. I just figured she was ready to enjoy being an empty-nester. It would have made me feel like I mattered more. Great reminder that Jesus is the one who will always be with us. He was with me yesterday in the MRI machine.

  11. 23


    i have an 8 month old daughter, my first. naturally, this brought tears (and by tears I mean sobs) to my eyes.
    thank you – beautiful!

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