She smiled at a troublesome eleven year old,
Who was lost, deterred from her path by her very idols.
She smiled at the lonely twelve year old,
Reminding the child that she was loved, never alone.
She smiled at the confused thirteen year old,
Who was still wondering who she wanted to be.
She smiled at the misfit fourteen year old
Who was happy living in the world of her mind.
She smiled at the nervous fifteen year old,
Encouraging the child as she left her nest.
She smiled at the weary sixteen year old
Who was still learning the ways of the world.
She smiled at the anxious seventeen year old
Who was looking forward to the uncertain future.
For four years I saw her smile, every day.
Her warmth and love growing
With each passing day.
For two challenging years she embraced me
With warm words of support and encouragement.
“I am always here for you.”, she assured me.
And in those embraces I found the courage and strength
To fight for all I wanted, for I knew I always had a safe haven.
The seventeen year old stands here today,
Indecisive about tomorrow; clueless about everything
But one; for she knows that she is loved,
She knows that she has a home filled with warmth
In a teacher, no less a mother; and this knowledge
Is enough to make her heart burst with happiness,
And to strengthen her soul to never bow down.