To my teenagers,

Be patient with me as I learn to let you go.

I know it’s time. I know you’re growing and becoming and that sometimes it’s uncomfortable. Be patient with me because it’s not just you who is adjusting, my love. It’s me too.

I know it’s hard to understand, but hear me out.

I dreamed about you before you were a whisper or a reality. I dreamed of you when you were so tiny in my belly no one could see you, but me. I dreamed of you when I was bent over a toilet until there was nothing left. I dreamed of you while I laid on the couch telling Dad that yes, I was sure I needed fries ASAP and another episode of Lost. I dreamed of you and I treasured you as my belly made my pants tight and uncomfortable, as my legs swelled, and as my cheeks grew full and my dimples deeper. I dreamed of you on the sleepless nights holding my belly and counting contractions like the midwives told me I should. I dreamed of you as I gave my body over to something that was completely beyond my control.

I’d never felt such purpose and anticipation, my love.

I dreamed of you when the contractions radiated through my body and I knew this was it. I dreamed of you as I labored through a pain I didn’t know existed. In my heart I knew you were worth every breath, every pain, every push. I knew, because I was the one who carried you. I carried you in my womb, in my heart, and in my soul.

You were my dream before the world even knew you existed.

I dreamed of you as the hospital room became a war zone and I fought with all my strength for your entrance into the world.

And then you were on my chest, there you were, my dream; my reason, my heart. You were all my purpose in one tiny body, pressed against my soul.  Every second was worth it, every single second.

I never wanted to feel that pain again, but I also knew I’d do it a thousand times just to hold you in my arms. A mother’s love is unexplainable; it’s unreasonable; it’s undone. A mother’s love completely belongs to her children. There are no corridors of her heart that are off limits.

Every door is wide open for you; I am all yours.

And then you grew.

Every day I doubted myself. I struggled to become the woman who I felt you deserved. I wanted to give you the world, but my actions seemed to fall short.

I dreamed of your future as I spent sleepless nights with milk soaked sheets. I dreamed of you as you sat screaming at me from your timeout chair in the thick of your toddler years. I dreamed of you when I cried myself to sleep because I was sure I was doing it all wrong and I so badly wanted to get it all right. I dreamed of you when I snuggled your warm body after a bad dream. I dreamed of you when I held your hand and walked you to your first day of kindergarten. I dreamed of you as I watched you run onto the football field for the very first time.

Someday maybe you’ll see. Maybe you’ll hold your own baby on your chest for the very first time. Maybe your heart will shatter into a million pieces and be built again from scratch. A love like this is impossible to explain until you’ve had the chance to touch it.

These baby, these are the days I dreamed of. I dreamed of the person you’d become; I dreamed of seeing you fly. Please be patient with me my love, as I learn to let go and let you stretch your legs and use your voice. Be patient with me as I go through yet another transition and becoming.

You’re growing, and I am too.

You were my dream before the world got to share you. You were my dream before your very first breath.

Be patient with me as I unclench these fingers and loosen these hands that have held you. Be patient with me as I relax these arms that have carried you since the first day you breathed life. Be patient with me as I recognize that the time has come to do less protecting and holding and more listening and cheering.

I dreamed of you and here you are.

And still I dream.

I love you more than you will ever know.

Love,

Mama

This article originally appeared on Wonderoak

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Jessica Johnston

Jessica Johnston is a writer and mom of four kids. She is an avid coffee drinker, risk taker, and TMI sharer. She is a firm believer in keeping it real and believes our imperfections bring us together. She writes at https://wonderoak.com/. You can follow her there, on Facebook, and on Instagram.