Editor’s note: The following is an exchange of letters between UC Davis first-year psychology major Cameron Mosier and his mother. Mosier asked to publish the letters to reach out to other students who might relate.
Cameron, I am really hurt that you forgot my birthday. I did set myself up for disappointment, but I thought when you asked for my birthday for your appointment with Dr. [omitted] that you would care enough to remember it because I meant something to you. When you put in little effort into any relationship, you make a person feel insignificant and unimportant.
Maybe birthdays don’t have much meaning for you and I shouldn’t have gone out of my way to make it special for you all these years, but after living with me for 19 years of your life, I would think you would know that it is important to me to be remembered. You know that I am over-sensitive. It doesn’t even take much effort on your part to make me happy … a little word of kindness, a nice gesture, noticing little things I do to make your life nicer (even if you don’t want it) and acknowledging it with some kindness and gratitude goes a long way.
Even small talk of insignificant things are important to a parent. It makes them happy when their children share a little piece of themselves every once in a while when you see them without having to ask questions to draw them out into conversation. I really don’t care how awkward you feel talking with us, it’s worse when you don’t even try. This is what I meant by effort in my previous email to you. It is hard for me and your dad. Most of the time, I feel we are in a one-sided relationship with you going nowhere. It would be nice if you would make some effort so we would know if family is important to you, because it makes us sad to think it doesn’t.
Mom, I’ll be honest: I don’t have an excuse that I forgot your birthday. The past few days in particular have been the roughest of my life. [Name omitted] finally responded after two months of no contact in a text basically saying that I need to leave her alone and that I should have got the message a long time ago that she didn’t want to talk to me. I spilled my guts to her. I told her all I wanted to know was why the girl I fell in love with, and best friend, did this to me. I just want closure. I just want to move on.
Please give me the opportunity to talk to you so I can put all of this behind me. She never gave me a response.
Being a naive kid, I think I know what everything is, including love. But love isn’t treating someone like an insignificant piece of shit. Love is raising a selfish child for 19 years and still caring for them after all the bullshit they have put them through.
I’m sorry Mom. For everything. I don’t know why I act the way I act around you and the rest of the family. I swear I just don’t know. I beg of you not to interpret my distance as me not loving you and the family. Trust me, I love you and the family more than any abused cliché I could just write here.
I love you more than life itself, I love you more than you could ever know, I love you more than milk loves cookies. It’s all just bullshit. I just love you. I have the raw love that a son has for his mother because at the end of the day you’re the only one I can really depend on. Don’t ever think I take you for granted because you’re the most valuable person I have in my life.
Love is not measured in the number of birthdays you remember. Love is the innate and natural feeling that you would go to the ends of the earth for someone and that is what I have for you. If I had a time machine I wouldn’t only go back to yesterday to wish you a happy birthday. I would go back to every morning you made me breakfast and I didn’t make conversation with you. I would go back to every silent car ride. I would go back to every time you said you loved me and tell you that I love you too. I’m sorry Mom. I love you Mom.