05/07/2014 04:29 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Dear Mom, Happy Mother's Day and I'm Sorry

Dear Mom,

I sat down to write your usual Mother's Day card but, this time, I couldn't do it. It just didn't feel right to write my usual: "Mom, I wish you the happiest Mother's Day. Love Your Son, Nicholas." In my 34 years on this earth, excluding the ones when I couldn't write a legible card, I have never had a problem writing a card telling you that "I love you" (especially for Mother's Day), until now. After all you have given me and done for me over the years, I couldn't just give you a card. Though I know you would have been completely content and happy to receive a card with a short message, I also know the only gift that you ever want is your children's presence, mine especially. This is not because I'm your favorite (though Michael and Michelle both think I am), but because you love your children more than anything else on this planet. So, instead of a card this year, I am going to say what I should have said to you every year.

I look back on how I treated you and all of the horrible things I said to you during my childhood, and it kills me. I was a selfish and unappreciative child. I know that being the baby may have contributed to my behavior, but it doesn't make up for it. You loved me more than I deserved; the more selfish I was, the more you loved me. You got me through an awkward and very insecure childhood by reassuring me of how special I was and reminding me of all my blessings and gifts. However, in return, I lashed out on you by saying things like "I hate you" and "I hope you die," and consistently throwing tantrums. I made you cry on a regular basis and, at the time, it didn't bother me. Whenever I didn't get my way, I acted out and threatened to run away until I either got what I wanted or lost the energy to continue. You and dad gave me the love and support that I wish many of my students receive, but I was too selfish and stubborn to appreciate that at the time.

After all the things I have said and done in my very ignorant youth, I can't help but feel ashamed and angry at myself. There was a period of time during my preteen years when I recall feeling that I am too horrible of a child to deserve such a supportive and loving mother. I couldn't understand how someone could love someone as much as you loved me, and there were many times when I wished you didn't. Part of me didn't think (and still doesn't think) I deserved you. The worse I behaved, the more you loved, supported and tried to help me. Though I have so many fond memories of you, dad, and my youth, the memories of the horrible things I have done to you and the tears I caused haunt me every day. I know you have said, time and time again, that you forgive me for how I acted as a child, and I believe you do; I just haven't been able to forgive myself.

Today at breakfast, you looked at me and said that all you want for Mother's Day is to be with your family, especially me. This is not the first time you have said this and I know it won't be the last but, this time, I realized something. It took me 34 years to realize it, even though I always kind of knew; you were chosen to be my mom for a reason. I have to believe that any other person on this planet would not have been able to handle and love me the way you did, and the way I needed. I know there were times when I drove you close (very close) to breaking down; yet, after two challenging children, you still had the love and energy to treat me like I was your first.

I want you to know that I regret everything I ever said and did to you when I was a child. I would do anything to go back in time and give my younger self a lecture and an ass whippin'. But, since I can't do that, just know that I will spend every day making sure you know how much I love and appreciate you. I will not get annoyed when you forget that I'm a 34 year old man and no longer your "baby." I will do my best to make you proud of me and try to live up to all the expectations you have, and have always had, for me. However, sometimes I feel like, if I don't become president, I'll let you down. The only thing that I resent you for is that you have set such an unreachable standard, that I am certain I will never find a woman who match it. But, if I am fortunate enough to find a woman who is even half as loving, selfless and compassionate as you are, I would be the second luckiest man alive; dad is the first. So, as I sit here, I know a card can never sum up how much you mean to me, but I will write you a card because I know how much it means to you.