My mom and I go back a quarter of a century. She’s beautiful, intelligent, audacious, and doesn’t accept enough credit. She loves all things New Orleans, purple and gold, and has still manages to cling to her Southern slang. She’s the impetus to my autonomy, love of ketchup, and addressing groups as “Ya’ll.” No longer does she question my desire to live in France, and in return, I refrain from criticizing her lengthy voicemail messages or inability to cook vegetables. Spoiler alert: Don’t use a microwave ;) After 25 years, we may not have it perfected, but we’ve got a knack for this whole Mother-Daughter thing. It works for us.
Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, between the days of taking me to preschool and taking me to the airport to board a plane to France, our relationship transformed; these past two years, especially. We had our ups, our downs, lefts, and rights, two steps forward and one step back. We talked it out in therapy and we shopped it out in Macy’s. We had moments of feeling dejected with a side of sorrow and a heaping measure of grudge, but we processed, discussed, and then found a pair of Nine West heels in our respective sizes with an extra 40% off.
There have been tears, arguments, slammed doors, misunderstandings, defensiveness, and even days without talking. But more importantly, there was forgiveness. There was laughing, advice seeking, story exchanging, inside jokes, nonfat-grande-extra-hot-decaf-cappuccinos from Starbucks, and mini-half-vanilla-half-cake-batter-frozen yogurt from Golden Spoon. There was acceptance and appreciation for each other’s idiosyncrasies rather than the previous desire to change them. The last couple of years, when life seemed to be a quarter-life emotional rut, I leaned on her for a crutch and she helped me to stand on my own two feet again. Without her support, I might still be in that rut.
While there was a time when it seemed that her and I were too dependent on each other, we’ve learned. Learned that love doesn’t mean leaning, and company doesn’t always mean security. And now? Now our relationship feels the most secure to date. I’m sure we’ll encounter future tangles, future spats, future therapists’ couches, but with each disparity, we gain a little more insight, a little more genuineness, and a little more strength.
Thank you. I love you. I really miss you. Happy Mother’s Day.
 “After A While” Poem by Veronica Shoffstall