As I prepare to leave Maggie’s Place after eight weeks, I have an abundance of thoughts running through my mind. Most of them consist of reminding myself not to cry, because I know the moms will make fun of me if I do, but I’m actually alright with that – I’m used to their teasing now. However, I know after these eight weeks I’m pretty likely to cry when I have to say goodbye. There is so much here I didn’t know I would have to say goodbye to at the end of the summer, and they are some of the countless reasons why I have fallen in love with Maggie’s Place.

I didn’t know before I came to Phoenix that I would find so many beautiful mothers, who would open up their hearts and share their stories with me. I didn’t know I would find incredible new friends among the MissionCorps, who patiently answered every question I had, who prayed for me before they even knew who I was, and who love without holding back and set an incredible example for me. I didn’t know I would learn how to change air filters and jump a car. I didn’t know I would chase lizards out of the house and push a watermelon home from the grocery store in a stroller. I didn’t know I would hold a baby who just entered the world a few hours before. And that I would have the privilege of watching as her mom stared down at her a few weeks later, turn to me to say, “I still can’t believe she’s my daughter”.

I didn’t know that my heart would be stolen by unborn babies and the mothers who love them. I didn’t know I would have more conversations containing the phrase “it’s so hot today” than I can count. I didn’t know that tears would be common and laughter would be more frequent than the tears. I didn’t know we would all cook, eat, swim and celebrate together. I didn’t know I would watch bananas disappear faster than I could imagine, and I didn’t know I would learn more about giving birth than I care to know at this point in my life. I didn’t know I would sort baby clothes for hours, and that I would be amazed daily by the generosity of donors and volunteers. I didn’t know I would watch moms support each other at meetings, classes, and appointments.

I didn’t know any of this before I arrived in Phoenix, but there was no way I could’ve known all that Maggie’s Place would be. Now I couldn’t imagine a better summer than the one I have spent at The Magdalene House. My heart is going to break, as it has many times lately, when I have to say goodbye to Maggie’s Place. I have been beyond blessed to spend my summer here, with a group of women who have taught me more about love than they’ll ever know.

By Tessa Laubacher, MissionCorps Member at The Magdalene House