To my children:

I will love you every one of your days. The bad ones, when your heart aches and you haven't showered in days and your hair is matted and sweaty and unkempt. The good ones, when you land that new job or win that trophy or any of life's little victories that make you beam in the wonder that is your worth. I will love you for these and for all of the days in between: the mundane, routine days of wake and dress and school and bedtime and repeat. I will love you when you fail, when you falter, when you make mistakes that in hindsight you knew were mistakes all along. I will love you through all of these things because I have breathed in your wonder, because you are my children, because there is nothing in life more incredible to me than you.

You both have needed me to feed you and hold you and rock you to sleep and help you learn to sit and walk and read; for so many years, I have been so very needed by you. It has been me who holds the power to kiss away your boo-boos, to hold your hand when you visit someplace new; it has been me who gives you the bravery to sleep in your room at night when it seems too dark. You have needed me for so long that some days I feel depleted from being needed so much, the fullness of every moment of every day stinging at my eyelids until they simply must close. This being needed fulfills me and fuels me as well. Motherhood is complex and intricate because it matters more in my life than anything else in the world. You, my children, matter more in my life than anything else in the world. But one day you will not need me as much and I know this to be true, even if it's a truth so very far from my current reality.

When you look back on me, your mother, I hope you see strength. I hope you remember someone who never settled or made excuses. I hope you remember me as having fight in me that I struggle to find most days but know is there. I know it's there because of you. I've never felt particularly strong and I cower more than I stand up for myself in most situations but all I need to do better is remembering that you're watching me and that, as intimidating as it may be, I am the example you base your entire lives around.

When you are grown up, in the days when you don't need me quite so much anymore, I hope you are who you are because of your childhood and that that is a good thing. I hope you are happy and free and proud of your truest selves because of your childhood and the roots I gave you, the dreams I helped you form and the wings I insisted you soar with. I hope you are the strong, well-rounded, kind souls as adults that you are now as children because of your childhood, not in spite of it.

Tonight you both sleep soundly, the hum of your sound machines permeating from underneath your bedroom doors into the quiet of the living room. Tonight I hope you both dream with every bit of your imagination and heart. I hope you wake with not a care in the world and know -- truly know -- your worth as people. I hope you never question your talent or beauty or intelligence or grit or that you have what it takes to move mountains. May you wear that confidence and love in the same places I wear my own scars of insecurity. May your smiles always beam as bright as they do now, your eyes twinkling glimmers of hope into a world that feels dull more often than not. May you always run to me the way you do now, falling perfectly into my arms and knowing my embrace will hold you even when you're adults who are bigger than I am. I hope you go to sleep each night knowing that you are perfect the way you are, that you are unique gifts to this world and that we as a society are better for the dreams and kindness that you bring forward into this world. May you know that mistakes are worth making and that your stumbles give way to stepping stones that will take you to places greater than you could have ever imagined, but places that I've always known were meant for you. You have amazed me, both of you, since the days when you slept swaddled in my arms and slept for three hour stretches. You have amazed me since the day I became fortunate enough to be your mother and it is my greatest wish that you never stop amazing yourselves.

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