Growing up, every boy has his favorite superhero or idol.
When I was younger, I was infatuated with Spider-Man. I wished I could be as cool as him, slinging webs and fighting crime. It seemed like the perfect life.
It's taken me 21 years to realize that although Spider-Man is still the coolest superhero, I had a more important superhero in front of my very eyes all of my life: my mother.
It's such an amazing and humbling feeling when you are able to take a step back and just examine your life in its entirety. You realize how the hardships, the highs and lows, and everyone in your life has made you the person you are today.
Some people taught you what to avoid in a person; others taught you how to become stronger or deal with certain situations. No matter how big or small of a role each person played in your life, he or she is there for a reason.
I feel like so many (not all) people, even at my age, are afraid to show their true emotions and thoughts. They're afraid of being ridiculed or being viewed as "soft" by peers or friends.
I believe if someone truly means something to you, you should tell him or her as often as you can. Let this person realize the value he or she has in your life and how much you appreciate your relationship.
The intent of this letter is to let you, Mom, know how much you mean to me and to also hopefully inspire other sons and daughters to take a second to embrace those true emotions and thoughts.
I wish I could have you forever, but unfortunately, I know you that's not possible. Until then, I will make sure you understand how lucky I am to have you as my mom.
You have been there for it all: the last-minute book reports, the school plays, the soccer games, the phone calls asking you where I put something I misplaced and you somehow knowing the exact location of it in the house.
So many children grow up without the love and care you gave to me. I wish I could share even a small percentage of the unconditional love you've given me with those people because I believe everyone deserves a mother's love.
Having someone day-in and day-out to support you and listen to you is one of life's most incredible gifts. You truly are my number-one fan.
As a mother, you have what seems to be an infinite number of hats to wear. You're the guardian, the best friend, the provider, the teacher... The list can go on and on.
There have been times when I questioned your actions, but only now do I understand that everything you did to me and for me was out of love. You said yes as often as possible, but weren't afraid to tell me no. From coloring on the walls to having an imaginary friend that just happened to be a dinosaur, you let me be expressive and creative without questioning it.
You showed me how to treat others with kindness, compassion and love. It's you who I believe has made me into a man, capable of expressing myself and my emotions, unafraid of being vulnerable, comfortable in my own skin and able to fully love and respect women.
The best thing about having you as my mom is that I'm still learning from you every single day. I promise to teach my children the same lessons you have provided me and to show them that love is a word that can have a million definitions and feelings.
I know I haven't been the best son in the world. I've called you names; I've upset you; I've given you headaches. It's unfortunately part of the many phases every son and daughter growing into an adult has.
There's the "hold my hand in the grocery store" phase, the "ew, don't kiss me" phase, the "Mom isn't cool" phase and lastly, the "my mom is the greatest" phase.
You have always been proud of my accomplishments and accepting of my failures. You never let me give up on my dreams, no matter what obstacles were in my way. You have always believed in me, even when there were times I didn't even believe in myself.
There's a difference between simply telling someone he or she is capable of anything and truly meaning it. You are my supporter and my rock. You're the first person I'll go to with good news to celebrate, and the first person I'll go to when times are difficult and need reassurance.
I hope you can look at the man I have become and be proud. Yes, there are other people to thank that have taught me life lessons and how to conduct myself, but you were the first one.
Don't ever doubt that you didn't do enough for me or have a single ounce of regret. You are more than I could have asked for in a mother. You are (and always will be) the caped caregiver and superhero of my life.
Sincerely, with endless love from your number-one fan,
PS: Your secret identity is safe with me.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It