I have a vivid memory of driving David to his first day of early intervention preschool. He had just turned three years old and because of his disability, weighed only eleven pounds and was unable sit up without assistance. I was terrified. I wanted to turn the car around and head straight to Mexico where I was sure we could find a tiny villa on the water and live a nice, secluded little life. I was at war inside myself. I knew early intervention preschool was important for David’s development, but would they love him? Would they nurture him and be kind to him? Would they be attentive enough? Would they take the time to understand him?

I parked the car, unstrapped David from his infant car seat {remember he was three years old but tiny} and carried him into his new classroom. I passed him hesitantly to the kind, soft spoken preschool teacher. The staff smiled at me reassuringly. It took everything in me to hold myself together. I explained how to feed him and reminded them David would need assistance sitting up. After a few minutes I kissed David good-bye, got in my car and began sobbing. No one could love David like I did.

For the first few weeks, every time I dropped David off it was torture, but slowly it got easier. After a couple months it was clear the staff adored David. He was adjusting well to the classroom schedule. He was already learning new things. I even began to enjoy a little time to myself. Maybe preschool wasn’t such a bad thing.

I hoped it would be easier when Matthias, our second, started preschool–but nope, it was just as terrifying for me. Plus, Matthias screamed at the top of his lungs for the first two weeks–clinging to my leg and begging me not to leave. His teacher assured me this was normal and would end after a couple weeks. But still, I would climb in my car and cry. No one could love Matthias like his mama.

And babysitters, oh my goodness. I border on paranoid when it comes to leaving our kids with other people–especially when it’s a new sitter. I’ve been known to drop in on a sitter unannounced. Once when the boys were very little, maybe two and three years old, I stopped in unannounced to find the sitter watching a rated R movie while she was talking on the phone and the boys were in another room entertaining themselves. I was not impressed. We didn’t ask her to babysit again. The first time we went away overnight, we tried to Skype with the boys but I burst into tears on the call–I missed them so much. Instead of a quick hello from mom and dad, I was a blubbering mess.

But the good has far outweighed the bad. The sitter we used most when the boys were little is still a dear friend. Matthias never called her his babysitter, he always referred to her as his best friend. She played superheros with the boys, colored with them and made their favorite foods. When she got married and moved away, we cried because we all love her so much.

While it’s true, no one can love my boys like I do, there are many people who have showered our boys with affection and nurturing and made their lives better. These same people freed me up to get work done, take breaks and rest so I could come back and be a better mama. We’ve had amazing teachers who give all they are to work with our boys. We’ve had real life angels {disguised as teachers} who worked with David for years, finally getting him to take his first independent steps. With their encouragement he learned to walk! They tirelessly loved and pushed David. They gave him more than I could give him alone.

Being a mom is beautiful and hard–not only when I am with my kids but also when we are apart. It takes a lot of trust to let someone else care for my boys, but I’ve found there are incredible people who bring new experiences and new perspectives. As David’s gotten older we find ourselves needing more help, not less. I am humbled and grateful for the Lindsey, who gives so much to our boys. She adds vibrancy and joy–not only to our kids’ lives–but mine and Steve’s lives as well. Our family is better because of her.

When I am away from my children I never truly leave them. I carry their hearts inside mine. Even when we are apart we are always connected. I keep them close with their names around my finger or their initials close to my heart. They are my loves, my heart, my world.

They will be loved by many–but truly–no one will ever love them like their mama does.

This is the heartfelt meaning behind my jewelry. We’d love to make something just for you. Click here to find a piece that speaks to your mama heart.