Moving away to college has made me come to many realizations. The most recent one is how much I miss my mom and how much I took for granted when it came to her. So, Mom here is a letter that I know won't make up for all the times I underappreciated you while I was home, but I hope it will make you feel good and know that I love you and I am missing you terribly.

Dear Mom (or Sher Bear if you like),

You have been a constant rock in my life. You have been everything a mother should be and more. I cannot even begin to tell you everything you have done for me because that would take years.

Now that I have not seen you in nearly three months, I have realized all the things I took for granted and all the things I miss. Not just things I miss about home and being with family, but things you did for me and the feeling your presence brought to me.

I remember just when I started to take you for granted and think I could do everything on my own. It was that time in my life when everyone said it would happen. From 8th grade and all through high school I thought I had it figured out.

I was moody, I was determined to be independent, I thought I knew everything about life and what to expect. I tested you and pushed your buttons. I treated you horribly more days than not. I gave you attitude about every little thing, and when all you wanted to do was talk, I would have my headphones in trying to block out the world.

Looking back, I am disgusted with how I treated you. It seemed that every little thing you did annoyed me and I was constantly snapping at you. I never asked your advice on things. And, I know we joke about this one, but I wouldn't even hug you properly.

I feel so bad for everything I have ever done to make you feel unhappy.

Despite all the things I put you threw, you loved me just like a mother should love their child: unconditionally. You forgave me instantly and still loved me despite my attitudes and moods and snappy comments at you.

Now that I am three states and miles and miles away from you and everything else familiar to me, I am able to realize just how horrible I was to you. I am wishing you were here with me and I always had you by my side.

I wish I could come home to you and have you ask me how my day was. This time I wouldn't get annoyed at you for asking, I would tell you anything you wanted to know. You listen and you actually care and some days that is all I need.

I wish I could go to you after a hard or stressful day (which is multiple times a week) and give you a proper hug and let you comfort me and give me advice. I miss having the ability to do that even though I took that for granted before.

Your random texts with a picture and a quote about how much you love me mean so much to me. I know you tell me you try not to text or call a lot, but don't hold back! I love it when I get a text or a call from you and I could talk for hours now. I miss you so much.

I wish I could go on a spontaneous errand to the grocery store, or sneak out and go shopping without telling Dad, or stop somewhere to eat (also without telling Dad) with you.

I took for granted everything you provided me as a mom. You were someone that was always and will always be there for me. When everyone else in my life leaves or doesn't care, I know I will have you to lean on.

You are an amazing woman.

You could have the worst day of your life and you would still come home with a smile, try to make a good dinner for all of us, and ask everyone how their day was. You would put your family above yourself.

You have taught me so much about life: staying true to who you are, being kind to others, always having a strong relationship with God. Your life lessons have definitely prepared me for some crazy situations here at college.

So, Mom, thank you for being you. Thank you for being so amazing and caring. Thank you for being so selfless. Thank you for loving me (and my brothers) so much and making sure we have the best life.

I am sorry for all those years of bickering and snappy comments and the attitudes. I can't promise that it won't ever happen again, but please know that I do love you so much. As cliche as it sounds, I really didn't know what I had until it was gone.

You are one of the biggest role models in my life Momma. You are so inspiring and beautiful and wonderful. I am so glad God gave me you as a mother. I wouldn't know what to do without you.

I love you so much, Mom.

Love,

Caitlin

P.S. I can't wait to see you for your birthday so we can shop some more without telling Dad.