I will never forget the day I became Kylie’s mom. It was a little after 11 a.m. in the morning on August 4 when the nurse reported, “She has a full head of dark hair.” Being in labor for over 15 hours, I knew then that I had made it to the final stretch.

All mothers know that inexpressible feeling when you are about to meet your own flesh­. It’s a feeling of complete elation and terror. You spent the larger part of the past year preparing for that very moment. Registry completed, birthing classes done, nursery finished, car seat installed, you’ve ran through how the delivery would go down in your mind too many times to count — you got this, right?

Yeah, that’s what I thought, too.

I’m a project manager. I am one of the most organized and plan-oriented people I know. I had imagined motherhood would be just another job. There would be a handful of daily tasks to work through just like emails and voicemails and the occasional “rush job” would come up here and there. It all seemed pretty straightforward… so I thought.

After a few pushes, Kylie made her grand entrance. I immediately reached for her and brought her directly to my heart that was exploding with love and happiness. At that very moment, my life changed forever. Within seconds of meeting my daughter I realized I had it all wrong.

It had not even been an hour since Kylie arrived and I had never felt so comfortable in my own skin. I realized then that becoming Kylie’s mom was not my job; it was my purpose. My entire life built up to this new chapter. Put simply, I was made to be Kylie’s mother and Kylie was made to be my daughter.

It had only been minutes and already I was proud of the accomplishment we made together to safely bring her into the world. I knew then that my relationship with Kylie would be unlike any other. It would be one that fosters support and growth coupled with a lifetime of teaching and testing each other.

I have learned and grown more in the first year of motherhood than I can ever remember. In the past nine months I have helped Kylie conquer several milestones. In exchange, Kylie has tested my patience and taught me the true meaning of selfless love.

Kylie will continue to reach milestones and will eventually blossom in to the young woman she is meant to be. While waiting for that day to arrive, we will spend our time relishing the steps we take together to get there, including celebrating my first Mother’s Day as Kylie’s mom.

Natalie Hill resides in Chandler with her husband, Andrew, and daughter, Kylie.