My dearest children,
I have a note beside my desk that says this: "You are the best mom in the whole wide world. I lav u." I know I'm not - I don't want to burst your bubble but here are some things you need to know:
I have been known to eat some of the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups out of your Halloween stash. I'm sorry. Actually, I'm not.
I like Mondays (but Fridays are also great).
I wish I bought more junk food, too.
I've kept every card you've made for me. I keep too much stuff actually, and it will all be delivered to you in a box when you get your own space some day.
Sometimes, like you, I just want to watch TV all day.
After I've told you to close the book and turn out your light, I stay up very late reading.
When I lose my temper and yell, I feel horrible and sad. I'm sorry for not saying sorry enough.
I worry like crazy about you. I try not to but I can't help it. It's a mom thing.
When you unload the dishwasher without being asked I almost faint. When you show kindness to each other it makes me cry.
I sneak in at night and kiss you when you are sleeping - yes, dear teenager, you too. When you were babies, I picked you up and cuddled you in the middle of the night, even though it might wake you and certain people said that was wrong.
When I make tough decisions that you don't like but are right for you and you hate it, and I say, this hurts me more than it hurts you, it's true. Sometimes because you make it that painful but mostly because, like other moms, I'd rather spare you the hard knocks of life. But that wouldn't be smart.
I'm not perfect. You've suspected this and now it's confirmed. I've made mistakes and I will make more. I lose my temper and can be unreasonable. I will disappoint you and I know it. This also hurts me more than it hurts you. I can only pray that God will use what is good in me for good in you and shield you from my imperfections. We moms try our best, give our best, love our best and in the end can only hope it comes close to enough.
Don't be mistaken - I may not be perfect but I do have superpowers. You've suspected this also. I do have eyes in the back of my head and I can read minds, particularly minds that are hatching a sneaky scheme. I know all and see all. Never forget that.
Sometimes I miss your baby days, toddler days, preschool days ... you're growing up so fast. I miss little arms around my neck. Yet, I love watching you change and grow. I'm eager to see your futures.
You inspire me, each one of you. Your talents, your perseverance, your laughs, your smiles, your hearts - I stand in awe of the unique little people you are. I wish I could take credit for it.
I had to lay aside some dreams to be your mom but you are my best dreams that have come true. I love you more than you can imagine. I hope you know this, I hope you feel this, but I know you don't understand it. And you won't until you have the joy and heartbreak of being a parent yourself.
You're the best kids in the whole wide world. I lav u, too. To the moon and back, I love you.
• Jennifer Zach lives in Ahwatukee Foothills with her husband and three children. They are members of Bridgeway Community Church. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.