I know it couldn't have been easy to raise me, but you and Dad did it.

Throughout my childhood, I would sometimes get annoyed with the decisions you made or the embarrassing things you'd do from time to time.

Back then, it bothered me... but now I realize that it's part of growing up.

Being a teenager is hard, and I know that I couldn't have been that nice to you. I was trying to figure out who I was and what I believed. I had to navigate high school and friends and everything else puberty threw at me. Through all of that, you were my scapegoat. If I was angry, you were the person that I'd get angry with. It wasn't fair whatsoever, but even then, I knew that you were someone that would never stop loving me, no matter how awful I was to you... so I kept doing it.

I'm only now starting to realize how much I hurt you... and I'm really sorry.

As I get older, I'm starting to see everything you've done for me.

From the day I was born, you (and Dad) have loved me more than I know. You were a stay-at-home mom while I was young, making it a priority to teach me things like the alphabet and numbers and shapes. You did anything you could to help me excel and learn to love learning.

You encouraged me to do things I love, and that was apparent in softball. You came to all my games and cheered me on. You sewed up jerseys and washed loads upon loads of dirt-ridden clothes. You encouraged me to practice even if I wasn't feeling it. You were as invested in my hobbies as I was, which, back then, I took for granted.

In addition to the good times, you also stood by me when making hard decisions. When I decided to quit playing softball, I remember being terrified to tell you and Dad. However, both of you were understanding and told me you'd stand by me no matter my decision.

You also always let me make my own decisions. Being the indecisive person I am, I both love and hate this. In the moment, I want the easy answer and I hate that you don't tell me what I should do. However, in retrospect, I know that you're simply letting me figure out life on my own and allowing me to grow into the human I am supposed to be.

Mom, thank you for everything. Thank you for everything I can be too stubborn to notice. Thank you for loving me - truly and unconditionally.

We still don't agree on everything, but as I get older, I realize how much I am turning into you. No matter how much I said I wouldn't, I am.

And it's not as horrible as I thought it would be.

I love you, Mom.