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What We Really Want for Mother's Day Is to Know You're Okay

Christine Carter

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Dear Kids,

As Mother’s Day approaches and you ask us what gifts we’d like or how we want to celebrate, we could give you a whole list of things that aren’t that important, because really, all we want is to know that you're okay.

You see, ever since you were a baby swaddled in our arms, every mother’s heart is tightly wound around the desire to know this very thing. And through all the years we’ve raised you, cared for you, and watched you grow from an infant to the young adult you are now, this has been our greatest wish, our deepest longing, and our biggest concern.

At every age and stage of your life, we've been ready to do just about anything to be sure you were, are and will be OKAY.

Mothers worry about countless things; some you’ll never even know. It’s all just too much and we rarely let it show. We try to stay steady and calm because we know that’s what you need most from us, but beneath the surface, we never stop worrying and wondering if you’re okay — and if you aren’t okay, then we especially want to know that, too.

Sometimes, being your mom means sleepless nights, when you are struggling with hard things, or doing something big and new, or you are so very far away and we can’t get in touch with you.

Other times, we worry if people are treating you well, or if you are learning enough, or if you are safe and healthy and finding friends who care.

We worry if you’re working on your goals or managing your time effectively. We worry if you are setting the right priorities and following through on your responsibilities.

We worry when we don’t hear back from you for more than a hot minute. We worry when you’re traveling, or dating, or doing pretty much anything on any given day.

This never stops, no matter how old you are.

Every mother spends her days wanting to care for her kids in every possible way, making sure that they are fed well, getting the rest they need, and making good decisions that will help them succeed.

And as you continue to grow up and create your own identity while building your life apart from us, we let go, a little at a time, and hope above all else that you are building confidence and courage along the way. We hope you’re taking good care of yourself and managing your stress in constructive ways. We hope you're finding joy in what you do, peace in who you are, satisfaction in working hard, and fulfillment in pursuing your dreams. We hope that your heart is full, and your mind is fueled, and your soul is fed.

We hope we taught you what you needed to learn while you were under our wings and in our home. We will always want to give you the full assurance that you are loved and that you are always in our hearts, thoughts and prayers. And we are always here for you, waiting to know how you are really doing, how you are really feeling, and eager to hear about the details of your days.

We know we won’t get all the particulars. We know there are stories and pieces of your life you’d rather not share. But we hope you trust us enough to know that there's nothing you could say or do that would ever change our love for you and our desire to support you through your toughest times.

As mothers, we feel your pain, and our hearts break when you are hurting.

We know how hard life can be. We ache for you when things aren’t going well and we'd give anything to protect you, to keep you safe from harm, to make life just a little bit easier. But often what we desperately want we can’t have, and what we'd give anything to do we can’t do. Because mothers know that allowing you to overcome your own obstacles is the best way to discover your true strength and self-worth. These are lessons you need to learn on your own. We can’t take those scary steps and make the tough choices and do the hard work in your place.

We want to know that, through the growing pains and stress of slowly discovering who you are and how you fit into this world, you are going to be okay. We want to know that you forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made and that you know we forgive you, too. We want you to know that even when you feel confused, lost, troubled and alone, we are always, always here for you.

This is the agonizing part of our job — letting go and allowing you to figure things out for yourself. But we also experience the greatest joy when you make it through those difficult seasons and celebrate big accomplishments and hard-earned victories.

Mothers hold our children’s story — every detail of every day, in ways you’ll never really know, in ways only moms can, because we remember all those years when you were babies and toddlers and kids and teens. We have the privilege of carrying all the parts of your history with us as we watch you transform into this newly grown adult. You might not remember much of your story; you might forget missing pieces of your childhood. Some of your memories might seem blurry or not there at all, but we will remind you of our favorite parts because they are our greatest treasures.

It’s the most extraordinary experience and the most fulfilling journey to raise our children through all the long days and short years, and somehow, we end up right here — so thankful, and often awestruck at the magnitude of the gift we’ve been able to receive.

That’s why Mother’s Day is so dear to us. Being your mom is our most honored role and we will never quit being a mom, no matter much you grow up and live life on your own. It's our constant mission and our greatest passion, as you are our most cherished possession.

And although we understand how this parenting job changes and shifts through the years, our hearts will always hold on, and never let go, because that’s the ongoing, relentless and unfailing gift of a mother’s love.

So, all we ask is that you let us know if you’re doing okay.

Because that’s the very best gift we can receive for Mother’s Day.

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Christine Carter enjoys writing about motherhood and parenting, health and wellness, marriage, friendship, and faith. You can find her work on her blog,, and several online publications. She is the author of "Help and Hope While You're Healing: A woman's guide toward wellness while recovering from injury, surgery, or illness" and “Follow Jesus: A Christian Teen’s Guide to Navigating the Online World” (both sold on Amazon).
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