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When Did My Baby Grow Up?

  • Terri Camp Home school author and mother
  • Published Sep 15, 2003
When Did My Baby Grow Up?

Today as I was rifling through all of my files trying to find where I put Christi’s Social Security Card so I could take her to get her driver’s license, I stumbled upon a stack of papers I had completely forgotten about.  I guess you could say I had completely forgotten about almost everything in the file cabinet too.  But this particular stack of papers was in her personal file.


As I sat down, forgetting that I was looking for her Social Security Card, on this her 16th birthday so I could take her to get her driver’s license, moisture began developing on my eyes, threatening to streak my face. 


A variety of emotions were swirling around my heart.  First I was feeling like a failure because I could not for the life of me remember where the all important card was and she would not be able to get her license on this the day of her 16th birthday and if I couldn’t find it, she would have to wait at least two weeks. 


I was also experiencing yet another “baby growing up,” which meant two things – I was getting older and so were my children. 


I recognized the papers in my hand as love letters I had written to Christi beginning when she was just four months old.  Instantly I was transplanted back to those days. 


Christi was our second child, joining her 14-month-old sister Ashley.  My life at that time was far from a Christian life.  It was 10 days after her birth, when I hemorrhaged from retained placenta and nearly lost my life, that I knew if I had died, heaven was not the place I would have gone.  That “near miss” in my life prompted me to begin searching for Jesus. It also prompted me to begin writing.


What I held in my hand were my first attempts at writing.  Not wanting to bare my soul to the world at large, I wrote letters to my children. As I read I was reminded of some days in my life that were difficult, yet so full of love, it was all worth the time invested. One of the entries talked about getting a job.  Allow me to share the entry with you.


August 12, 1988:  I’ve been mulling over the idea of going to work or not.  I just love being home with you kids.  I sometimes don’t know if I would be able to handle a job because I would have to be away from you for so long.  I don’t really want anyone else to raise you, but we are really in need of money.  There’s nothing else that we can do.  So as soon as I get a job I will be going back to work.  Oh my precious little baby, I wonder if I am doing the right thing.  Is it really important for us to be out of debt or is it more for selfish reason, to increase my self esteem or just for the money?  Can I get a good enough paying job to make it worth it?  How will our lives change if I go back to work?  Who will sing to you?  Will the babysitter sit you on her lap and rock you and give you hugs?  Will they be the same?  Will you still remember who I am or will you wake up one day asking for the baby sitter to fulfill your needs?  I thought I had made up my mind but as the time draws nearer, I find it increasingly difficult to want to go to work.  I don’t plan to work my entire life.  I always want to be there for you.  I want us to have a special relationsip.  Will we lose that if I go back to work?  I just don’t know.  I wish I could ask you how you feel.  If you could talk what would you say to me?  Would you tell me it’s all right and you understand or would you plead with me to stay home with you?


God worked a miracle in our lives with Steve getting two pay raises in two weeks, which enabled me to not have to leave my babies at home. 


As I read the entries in the journal, I realize how far we’ve come.  In just 16 short years, my baby has grown into a fine young woman.  Her zeal for life is contagious.  Her love for learning is incredible.  And you know, I wouldn’t change staying home with her for all the money in the world.  Now if I could only find her Social Security Card!


Listen to Terri's weekly broadcast for home schoolers at In addition to devoting herself to her husband and the eight children she home schools, Terri also enjoys writing and speaking to offer encouragement to women in an effervescent, humorous way. Visit her Web site at or e-mail her at