From the moment I laid eyes on you, I fell in love.

We didn’t know one another very well. I wasn’t certain if you would have dark wavy hair like your father or straight hair like me. I didn’t know if you would grow up to be feisty and spirited like your aunt or have the gentle disposition of your grandfather. I had no idea if you would be a scholar who loved learning with a dream of changing the world or someone who embraced the little things in life, content with unembellished simplicity. It didn’t matter, I loved you anyway.

When I brought you home from the hospital on that bright, chilly morning, I didn’t know if you would sleep through the night, if you would be fussy or if I would be able to console you when you cried. I didn’t know if you would recognize the sound of my voice and smile softly when I spoke, and I wasn’t sure if you would welcome my arms and melt in my embrace when I rocked you at night. I wasn’t sure if you would feel my love.

When you were sick and I cared for you, I didn’t know if the hours I sat beside you would soothe and remind you of how much I love you, how much you meant to me and that I would do anything for you. I didn’t know if the countless times I took you to the doctor, despite your resistance, that you would one day realize it was my way of shielding, protecting and safeguarding you. I didn’t know if you knew. It didn’t really matter, I loved you anyway.

When you were a toddler running around the house with endless spirit and energy, I wasn’t sure if you would ever stop throwing your food, throwing temper tantrums or throwing your toys. I wasn’t certain if I would be successful in teaching you how to share, be kind, or how to trust in others. At the time, I didn’t know if my efforts to teach you the importance of boundaries in life or about the dangers that surround you were taking hold. I wasn’t sure if you were listening.

When you started elementary school I wasn’t sure if the manners I taught you would eventually sink in. I wasn’t certain if my advice on how to become a caring friend would enlighten you and one day impact your future relationships, and I had no idea if the countless hours I spent helping you with your homework would teach you how to listen, learn and apply your knowledge later in life. I didn’t know if you were taking it all in. It didn’t really matter though, I loved you anyway.

When you were in middle school, I wasn’t certain if the warmth of my hugs would ease your fear or if the many talks we had after school would guide and help you build the confidence you needed to face the harsh reality of the world. It was unclear to me at the time if the hours I invested supporting you in all your activities, sports, clubs, dances and school events would reassure you and offer you the comfort of knowing that I cared, that I loved you, that your joy was my joy, and that I would always be by your side. I didn’t know if you understood.

When you were in high school, I wasn’t sure if the freedom I gave you and the subsequent mistakes you made would teach you the importance and value of responsibility and consequences and how each decision you make can impact your future. I didn’t know if you would face your first job with professionalism and integrity after my years of guidance and influence. And, I didn’t know if the self-reliance and maturity I began to see in you would carry over as you ventured into the next phase of your life. I wanted to believe, but I wasn’t sure. It didn’t matter though, I loved you anyway.

Reflecting back on the years, I’m not sure if the values and morals I have instilled in you will resonate with you for years to come. I’m not sure if you will stop along the way in life to smell the flowers and embrace the beauty before you or if you will carry with you the importance of forgiveness, compassion, and selflessness. I’m uncertain if you will embrace and relish the God-given talents that you’ve been blessed with and remain humble if success comes your way. I want to believe. But, it doesn’t matter at all, I love you anyway.

Today, my heart is filled with joy . . . I see the wonderful person standing before me that I have spent so many years raising and nurturing, and I now know that throughout the years you were listening, you did understand, you were taking it all in and, somehow, you always knew how much I cared, how much you meant to me, and how deeply I loved you.

The many lessons I have you taught you throughout your life are my precious gifts to you—gifts of love, compassion, trust, and faith—gifts of integrity, forgiveness, confidence, and resilience. Take these gifts with you wherever you go and share them with the world. Live your life, follow your dreams, find your happiness and always remember that I love you just the way you are. You are my everything and nothing else will ever matter . . . because I will always love you anyway.

Originally published on the author’s blog

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Nancy Reynolds

Nancy is a professional writer, public relations strategist and parent & teen advocate. Her website, Raising Teens Today, is a culmination of everything she loves—writing, living life passionately, and mostly, being a mom. Find her on Facebook or on Twitter @HonestTeenTalk