Living Candidly #2: Thanking My Mom

I would not be exaggerating if I told you that my mom and I probably say “I love you” to each other approximately three times each per phone call. And there are at least three phone calls per day — one when I wake up, one on my way out of work to the 1 train, and one right before she goes to bed — so we’re looking at nine “I love you”‘s said by each of us to the other in a single day.

And while, yes, I absolutely love my mother, I was really looking for a way to make her feel that love this Mother’s Day.

With a lot of secrecy and coordinating group texts with my dad and brother, we managed to plan a surprise brunch for her in Baltimore. I would take the bus down the day before, hang out with two of my friends (post to come on why they’re #thebest), and secure a ride to the restaurant in time for the meal. My younger brother would be driving from College Park to north Baltimore and picking up flowers along the way (from a supermarket, let’s not get wild here). My dad would say he wanted to go to a War of 1812 reenactment at Fort McHenry, something that my mom would try to support and thus attend with him. Everything was in place.

Day of: I’m wildly hungover from a few too many drinks with #thebest, my brother is down with the flu and unable to make the hour drive by himself, and when 10:45 hits my mother and father are nowhere in sight of the restaurant. I took another sip of my ginger ale and a deep breath.

But when my mom saw me across the restaurant floor, her jaw dropped. She didn’t pick it up until she reached me, at which point it started wobbling and she cried. As she is wont to do, she enveloped me in her arms, but this time it was me holding her up instead of the other way around, as it has been the majority of my twenty-five years.

Everyone on Mother’s Day says they have the best mom and that their mom is their best friend. In addition to traditional motherly duties like changing diapers and breastfeeding, though, my mom was the first person to shave my armpits because I was afraid I would cut myself. She was the person who always did my hair before school dances and put up with my persnickety commentary the duration of the styling. She held my wrists overnight when I was in my darkest lows, sobbing and complaining that they burned for something that is today unfathomable. She has loved me at my absolute brattiest, my absolute most desolate. She has loved me when I’ve been incapable of truly loving anyone back in any manifesting ways because I’ve been too consumed with my own self. Most mothers would have stayed, sure, but none would have pushed through with the same ferocious love that she has displayed time and time again.

It is because of her and our closeness that if there is one thing I am certain of in this life that my future needs — it’s motherhood. If I can impart a morsel of the love that she has given to me in the likeness of her own mother to another generation, well, I’ll have done something good. It’s a big order, but a girl’s gotta have dreams.

Thank you, Mom. You are a heaven-sent inspiration of true and unconditional love.

On conviviality

On conviviality

Photographs are just light and time.

– Turtles All The Way Down, John Green

For a few lovely moments, self-awareness relinquished its grip on him, and he was happy. This, time with Sunny had taught him, is what friendship is. To be given a key to a locked part of your soul.

– Mobile Library, David Whitehouse

The end of my first summer working in Fadó Irish Pub, I was asked to train a a short blonde girl who had three times the serving experience I did. She took to it much faster than I had only three months previously. As I was in my second to last shift, I didn’t bother getting to know her past that point.

Two years later, she sat down next to me at the bar after a shift at that same pub. I was returning for yet another summer and she was miraculously still there. I say miraculously because to this day she is one of my very best friends. Even better, she drew in another member of the staff who had remained in my periphery previously. I knew the other because we went to the same high school — knowing of each other but never meeting because we were in different years. Before I knew it, we were ordering rounds of shots and making plans for an old school sleepover party to watch Game of Thrones.

That was two years ago.

I bring this all up because their presence in my life explains my absence on this blog for the past ten days. Bekah (the short blonde turned brunette) and Kate (the one from my high school) traveled 4000 miles to come and visit me, something none of my friends have done during my time abroad. And even more amazing was that we enjoyed our time together immensely. I’ve had friendships tried and ruined during excessive exposure during traveling. This did not happen. Sure there were quirks and annoyances, but there was no death and destruction as I have seen and heard of before.

They both left yesterday and today I am left with photographs and memories. While the photographs (unlike in the 90s) will not fade because they are digital, the memories will. We will be left with the select three to five we choose to repeat over and over. But that feeling of contentment, of security, of conviviality and likeness of spirit? That is something that I will be grateful for regardless of where our paths take us.