Inland SoCal Moms | Encouragement For Moms – Over The Hill

My first born, Noah, was a dream child. Load him in the car and not only would he sleep the entire ride, but he would stay asleep for hours in his baby carrier. All our trips were planned around his nap and sleep schedule, so we figured it wouldn’t be a big deal to travel ten hours north when he was three months old.


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We traveled during the day as we headed up north. I sat in the back with Noah, read him books, fed him, and played with him; however, on the way home, we decided to travel during his bedtime, knowing he would sleep the entire way home (did I mention he slept twelve hours at night?).

Suitcases filled the trunk of our little hybrid car, so Christmas presents had spilled over into every part of the back seat that Noah didn’t occupy.

“I think it’s too cramped,” I argued with my husband, Jeff, the expert packer.

“It’s fine.” Jeff smiled. “He’ll sleep the whole way and you’ll sit in the front with me.”

Sure enough, we had only been on the freeway fifteen minutes when I saw Noah’s little head bob. He fought it for a while, but soon he was in a sound sleep.

My husband and I enjoyed adult conversation and listening to “our” music. The minutes turned into hours. One stop for gas and Noah slept on. As we began up the Grapevine, I was thankful he was sound asleep…

It started as a whimper. Jeff’s reassurance that Noah would fall back to sleep was interrupted by screams from our little guy.

“It’s okay, Noah.” I turned around in my seat to reach the top of his head. “It’s okay, Baby.”

The screaming intensified.

“You’ve got to pull over!” I told Jeff.

“I can’t pull over.” His voice was calm despite the chaos.  “We’re on the Grapevine. There’s no where to pull off.”

Noah’s face grew bright red, his pajamas now damp from tears. As soon as I placed a pacifier in his mouth, he spit it out.

“It’s probably just his ears popping,” Jeff said, as if knowing why my son was so upset would make it better.

I stared at the stack of presents in the back seat. There was absolutely no room next to him, but there was space on the floor beside his seat…

“What are you doing?” Jeff turned as I unbuckled my seat belt and made my way toward the back seat.

“Just drive.” I was in no mood to argue. My baby was hurting and I needed to be next to him.

Somehow I squeeze my bottom above the floor between Noah’s infant seat and the mound of presents. I kissed his tears away and held his little hand, singing Hush Little Baby, Jesus Loves Me, and other songs I knew he loved. It took several songs to calm him down, but when he did, he squeezed my finger. He sighed, sucking on his pacifier, and stared into my eyes. He wasn’t happy, but I could tell he knew everything would be okay because Mommy was there.

That’s our job as moms, to be there in the tough times. I was there when he needed his forehead glued at 18 months and when he had an awful throat infection at two. I carried him into the doctor’s office when he had the flu at five because he was too weak to walk. When the doctor told me he would either be well in 24 hours or in the hospital, I took him home, fed him ice chips, and prayed that this too would pass. And it did. I’ve been there for all the wins and loses for soccer and Bible quizzing. I’ve held him as he cried when one of his best friends moved across the country.


Of course, I could never forget the times my baby girl, Becca, needed me. At 15 months she fell off the back of the couch (which she loved to stand on). I held the ice on the goose egg in the middle of her forehead. My heart broke when she received second degree burns on her hands from pushing on the burning hot front door one summer, but I held her and kissed her as we waited for the burn medication to work. When she broke her toe at nine years old, she kept a stiff upper lip when she chose me over her father to take her to urgent care. I was also beside her the next day, a smile on my face though fear filled my heart while she got a blood test because the doctor was afraid of an infection entering her blood stream. When the girls next door teased her, I hugged her and told her all the wonderful things about her. On her first week long trip to see Grandma and Grandpa up north, I called her every night so she could tell me about her day. By the third night she was happy instead of homesick.

The only given in motherhood is your child will suffer at some point. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. In my thirteen years as a mom, I have suffered a lot of physical pain myself; however, I would rather suffer any day of the week than see my kids suffer. Why do moms feel this way? Because we can’t take their pain away. That cold December night when I squeezed in a spot much smaller than my backside, I didn’t take my son’s pain away. I couldn’t. But I showed him I cared. I was there, holding his hand, wiping his tears. It didn’t feel like enough, but it was all I could give. The truth is, when we pour out all our love on our kids, it is enough.

We made it over the hill. Once again Noah was sound asleep and I joined my husband in the front seat.

Jeff shook his head. “I don’t know how you fit back there. I packed it so good, there wasn’t any extra room.”

“My baby needed me, so I figured out a way.” I relaxed in my seat. “That’s what moms do.”

Kelly Harrel

Writer at Inland Moms
Kelly Harrel is an amazing wife to her husband, Jeff, and "the best mom ever" according to her two children. In her spare time, Kelly writes Inspirational Fiction novels, blogs about life lessons, and speaks to women and girls. She blogs at

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