Dear Mom,

When you are younger, you long for your mother. You long to be near her, you long for her touch, her loving words, her reassurances and hugs. Naturally.

And while you tried your best, I often found myself feeling empty, as if I was lacking something-- lacking the bond I so desperately craved for. But that's only because I didn't understand.

I understand now.

I recall all the afternoons spent in afternoon programs while you and dad were at work. I recall the mornings of you rushing us out the door to make the bus so you'd be on time for work. Despite your sense of urgency, you always managed to force some semblance of a breakfast down my throat. I hadn't realized then that that was you trying.

But I realize now.

I recall when you'd awake me for school via tickles. I hated that. I'd kick and scream and demand you go away. I hadn't realized then that was you trying.

But I realize now.

Trying to be the best mom you could despite your busy schedule.

I recall all the summers I spent under the guidance of the "babysitter of the week" (remember how I used to scare away all the babysitters?). I hated that. I just wanted you and dad.

But every summer, you'd take time off work and plan a family vacation, and not just a measly camping trip or day-trip to Cedar Point-- but a great vacation that encompassed everything I loved. You made sure to tailor our family vacations towards my passions. I hadn't realized then that was you trying.

But I realize now.

And in the midst of my angsty "I Hate The World" teenage phase, I found my resentment for you was at an all-time high. But you need to know that you are not to blame for that. I was merely in a phase. A very bitter, angry, cynical phase, otherwise known as being a teenager.

I hope you can forgive me for that phase. I'm trying my best escape this phase once and for all, but I'm still young. I'm still learning. Just bear with me. Please.

I used to believe you prioritized your job over us, as if it were your real child. And while it may have been as demanding as a child, I know now that it wasn't. We were.

I recall you letting me skip school so I could go to work with you, and while accounting may be dull in reality, your world seemed so exciting to me back then. I recall sitting at the foot of your desk watching you type away on your computer and imaging myself in that desk chair one day. I think that's where my ambitions began to grow and flourish, right there in your tiny office. You were inviting me into your other world, the world I believed to have taken precedence over me. You were letting me know that I wasn't forgotten. I hadn't realized it then that was you trying.

But I realize now.

While I may not have received the constant attention I craved as a child, I was given something far greater, something I'll carry with me for the rest of my life.

Ambition.

You weren't always there because you are ambitious, and because of you, I am too.

You've shaped me into the woman I am today, and invariably, the woman I will become.

Because you're so successful as a woman, you've instilled a sense of empowerment within me. You've showed me that women are just as capable, if not more capable, then men. Because of that, I am pursuing a career in a field that is male-dominated. This doesn't intimidate me, nor does it dissuade me. I've personally seen a woman dominate in her field, so I can too. I will to. I cannot thank you enough for that.

My dreams are big, because yours were too.

My ambition burns strong, because yours did too.

My motivation is tenacious and unrelenting, because yours was too.

You may have not been the stay-at-home mom I longed for as a child, but you're the role model I need as an adult.

Don't worry, I realize everything now.