While I don’t envision that God is in heaven playing a random game of Duck, Duck, Goose as His way of selecting how children and their future parents will be matched, I do believe God perfectly places people, specifically children, into our lives quite purposefully.

Maybe I was specifically chosen for my parents as a means of preparing and equipping me with the tools I would need (resilience, strength, mental toughness) to raise Skyler and Kendall – the incredible children He’d selected for me.

While my parenting journey has been at times bumpy, often requiring that I navigate uncharted, unrelatable terrain, I have come to understand that motherhood has been the teaching tool and most important role I didn’t realize I needed. One that God had prepared me for all along.

No matter what motherhood brought with it, I always promised myself that I would break the cyclone of abuse and addiction that plagued my family for generations.

Banned from my home would be the harsh words and stinging criticisms that leave wounds of self doubt and internal suffering not easily or quickly healed. Branding so deep it controls your every thought, action and opinion through the entirety of your life unless you’re willing to acknowledge it and work to release it.

Rage and impatience would be replaced with the emotional and physical connection that was significantly lacking throughout my childhood.

I have always been committed to showing up differently as a parent to provide my kids with the childhood of my dreams and one they wouldn’t have to seek therapy to recover from.

There are an infinite number of sacrifices, emotions and celebrations that come with being a mother regardless of whether your child is neurotypical or has differing needs.

Motherhood requires that we be both a disciplinarian and friend.

Motherhood allows us to become our child’s strongest advocate and loudest cheerleader.

Motherhood insists that we develop a balance between being over-protective and allowing our kids to learn valuable life lessons from making mistakes or experiencing failures.

Motherhood is the hardest and most important job I have ever had but wouldn’t trade for anything. It is the reason for my sleepless nights and wrinkles but also my endless amounts of joy and fulfillment.

Becoming a mother has presented me with the opportunity to rewrite my story with a shift in perspective, using all that I’d learned the hard way as fuel to provide my children with the carefree childhood that I never received.

If I could tell my 5-year-old self one thing about her future parenting journey, I’d want her to know that ‘motherhood will be the hardest and most rewarding job you were meant to have. And, spoiler alert, you absolutely crush it.’