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We’d never met, but I knew you.

I could see you, envision you. I often told your daddy it was like our souls just knew each other. Like they recognized the very presence of the other as something familiar.

I knew you would need me—maybe not forever, maybe in ways that would change and shift–but I don’t think I ever anticipated how much I would need you.

I watched my body grow and stretch, and I shared the days with you like an old friend. I talked to you. I sang to you. I prayed out loud for you. You didn’t need my company, but I was there.

And then, after what seemed like an eternity of waiting, we finally made each other’s acquaintance, and it was like coming home. I doted over you. I memorized every finger and every toe. I soaked you up like the last drop of sunshine on a clear summer night. You didn’t need my adoration, but I was there.

Before long, you started to surprise me. All the things you could do. All the places you could go. You started to show a personality so distinctly your own. I watched you in amazement. I kept you safe. I stayed within arm’s reach just in case. You didn’t need me to hover, but I was there.

Soon, you were off to school. I tried desperately to figure out where the time went, but the math just didn’t work. They were right when they said it would go too fast. I watched you pick out your clothes and pack your backpack. I snuck a treat in your lunchbox. I walked you in as you wiggled your hand free from mine, and then I kissed you goodbye, holding back the tears of pride and fear and disbelief until you were out of sight. You didn’t need my help, but I was there.

One day you’ll break my heart. And maybe someone will break yours. One day you’ll ask me for the keys, and you’ll back out of my driveway with just a quick wave and a backward glance.

One day you’ll build a life all your own, and perhaps, if you’re lucky, you’ll find someone who treasures you and who fills your gaps and who holds up your arms when you get tired of carrying the weight of the world.

And maybe that will become your person, and we’ll chat on the phone after work and catch up when we can, and we’ll look forward to holidays when we can reconnect in a way that means something.

And when that day comes, I’ll watch you with pride. I’ll cheer you on. I’ll never stop loving you and celebrating you and reminding you how inherently special you are.

And my eyes will fill with tears that will remind me of that first day when our souls were so intertwined we knew each other before we’d even met.

And you may not need me, and that will be OK.

Because I’ll always be there.

Originally published on the author’s blog. 

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Kendra Barnes

Kendra is co-founder of Daylight to Dark, a lifestyle blog. She's a fun-loving wife and momma to a spirited, blue-eyed girl and a particularly jolly baby boy. She's an expert at holding down the fort, abandoning her coffee, and interjecting just the right amount of snark into any conversation. Through her love of writing, she aspires to share how she turns regular days into memories.

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