How love is shown and expressed differs for all individuals — mothers included. What is the same is the belief that a mother’s love is indescribable, unconditional and never-ending.

I was 26 when I had my first daughter, Lila, and 28 when I had my second daughter, Brooklyn. I remember being asked, “Are you ready?” My answer — a simple yes to a loaded question. Truthfully, I was ready in the sense that I had a nursery set up, a pediatrician chosen, more newborn-sized pajamas than either girl would ever need, and I was mentally prepared for sleepless nights.

What I couldn’t prepare for was the life-changing moment of bringing both Lila and Brooklyn into this world — for the feelings I would have for these little ladies who are a part of both my husband and myself.

After my daughters were born, there was another question I was frequently asked: “Are you in love?” Again, another simple answer of yes, to a question that was anything but straightforward.

On the surface, I was on cloud nine — blessed with two happy, healthy, beautiful baby girls. On a deeper level, I was terrified to be responsible for individuals I only knew in my imagination. For 9 months, I dreamed of what my daughters would look like, act like and sound like, and once they were born realizing I didn’t really know them at all was daunting.

As I got home after the birth of Lila and Brooklyn and settled into a routine, I started letting go of what I had dreamed them to be like and got to know them for who they actually are and what makes them unique.

That is when I really fell in love. Now, as they grow, my love grows for Lila — who is sweet, sensitive and sincere — and Brooklyn — who is feisty, funny and full of questions. They’re both the most loving and caring girls I have ever known.

Putting into words a feeling of love that is not only inherent but transcends all words feels like an impossible task. But I don’t need to be able to put those feelings into words. All I need is for my daughters to know through my actions that they are loved beyond words. It’s an unspoken feeling toward two little girls who are a part of my soul.

I want to end with a letter to Lila and Brooklyn, so they can look back on this piece and recognize how their love has changed me for the better.

Dear Lila and Brooklyn,

Being your mother is the greatest gift of my life. Watching your eagerness to learn, your excitement for adventure and your love for one another is magical. As we navigate our way through your lives together, know your happiness is my happiness, your successes are my successes and your fears are my fears.

There will be moments where I may feel like I’m at my wits’ end, but it’s in those moments you give me a little extra TLC. That’s when you girls look up at me with your beautiful blue and green eyes, softly touch my cheek with your little hands and say, “Mommy, I love you.” That’s when everything is right in my world. I have a mother whose love I’ve never doubted and I hope you can say the same.

You make being a mother everything I ever imagined and for me, home will always be where you both are.

Love always and forever,

Mommy 

Aliza Friedlander is a Baltimore-based freelance writer.