Photo: Trista Heffner

There are so many things I want to tell you, but it’s so hard—I don’t even know where to begin.

Ever since I was little, I dreamed of becoming a Mom. In fact, until just before I graduated high school, the only job I ever had was babysitting. Caring for kids has always been a passion of mine. I prayed for you for so long. There was a long stretch of time that I didn’t think it was going to happen.

After what seemed like forever, by medical intervention and God’s grace, that beautiful pink line finally appeared. I know now that the long wait for your arrival was just the first of many lessons in patience for me. Being your Mom has taught me so much. You are extremely aware of the emotions around you. You remind me when I’m being too loud. You become anxious. You know when I’m feeling sad. You keep a very close eye on me. You know when I’m relaxed and genuinely happy. You never short the laughter. You’ve shown me the need to slow down. My favorite is when I’ve been so busy doing things and you just grab my hand and pull me away from whatever I’m doing and sit me on the couch. Most of the time that is as far as it goes. You just want me sitting next to you. You remind me in your own way to take a break. You amaze me every day with your resilience. Your dedication to keep trying until perfection. Many of our hard times are you becoming frustrated with something you are trying to do or working on but don’t have the answer yet. Like somehow you failed. The anxiety takes over. You get overwhelmed. It breaks my heart when it takes over and you don’t have the words to explain what’s going on or how I can help. A million things race through my head. What can I do for you? At the moment, nothing that comes to mind feels like enough.

So, I sit there with my arms wrapped around you holding you through the frustration, the tears, the flaps, and the kicks. Reminding you that you are doing a great job. To take deep breaths. I’m here to help, always. We’re in this together. They say “Actions speak louder than words”  and that couldn’t be more true.

You have taught me so much, to not forget to take a breath. To calm myself when something is getting the best of me. You might not have all of the words yet but you show me, day after day, that love needs no words. I am so proud of you. I am proud to be your Mom. I am proud to be your voice. I am proud to share your story. The real. The raw. The joy.

I am proud to raise awareness. Because awareness leads to understanding. Understanding leads to acceptance. That is my dream for you and all the other amazing kids out there. Acceptance. And for this world to be a little kinder. To see you through my eyes for the amazing, smart, sweet, and loving person that you are. I’m so glad God chose me to be your Mom.

This post originally appeared on Hurricane Heffners.