This is a real quote from many conversations in my life, and it is also true. One of my favorite things about humans is that a common topic that comes up when people are getting to know each other is our mothers. "So, what's your relationship with your mom like?" they will ask, or I will, because I'm nosy, and this is hilarious because it is so telling of who a person is. Even if it isn't all that telling, that in itself tells me a lot about you just by contrast. It's also hilarious, because we, as a species, are aware that this relationship is insightful to who a person really is.
So, when a person is getting to know me, and I have just said something funny about my mom, or something raw about my mom, or something inspiring about my mom, and the next question is "oh, what's your mom like?", and I say, "she's my best friend," I know what it makes me sound like.
A slight narcissist with attachment issues.
This isn't totally untrue, I don't have attachment issues. What I do have, though, is companionship. I have a person in my life who has been my rock. She has seen everything that I have been through and still likes me (love is assumed, but liking is different). My mom is the person I go to when I need redirection. She once had a dream that the earth's poles were flipping, and only she knew because she was magnetic north, but no one believed her. I laughed relentlessly when she told me this story, and maybe this shows where the slight narcissism could be genetic, but when I sit here and reflect upon how my mother has shown me clear paths and guided me through the absolute darkest hours (literally, we once had the electricity shut off on us) I can believe that she might be at least my magnetic north.
Today is my 27th birthday. It is also the 27th anniversary of the day my mom gave birth to me. It is also Mother's Day. Every seven years my birthday is shared with Mother's Day. When this happens, the energy between us is like that of when the world is expecting a rare, total solar eclipse. Tensions are high, emotions are deep, and although it's something that has happened before, we have no idea what it's going to be like. On Mother's Day in 1991, it was the day before I was born, my mom was in her third day of labor (no I'm not kidding), and was soon to be admitted for an emergency cesarean section because I was too fat to be born (again, no I'm not kidding). Even though I was technically there, I can only imagine that being my mom was like the anticipation of a rare, total eclipse. It has happened before, but never to her, and she had no idea what it was going to be like.
I think being a mom is probably pretty cool. Mother's Day in 1991 wasn't so cool for my mom, but the day after probably was. The 27 years following have been boisterous, including many ups with many downs, and calming lulls in between. I think of the relationship my sisters have with my mom and will have when they are 27 years in. I know she'll be just as close with them because she's an excellent mom. She is understanding and nurturing by nature. Our relationship is different though. My sisters will probably never know the experiences that my mother and I share. In a way, we grew up together. She was young, as was I (because I was a baby), and life was coming to her the way it was coming to me. New and startling. She stood strong through all of it, though, and very elegantly so from my perspective.
The other day I was in a store trying to decide which pair of shoes to buy. The green ones or the grey ones. The salesperson (a teenager who looked like a punk James Dean) was hovering, waiting for me to make a decision. I was hemming and hawing, making a fuss over a decision that should have little impact on my life, but aesthetic is everything to me, so if I chose the wrong color the sky might fall. He said, "so whatdoya think?". I said, "I'm going to send a picture to my mom, because 'mother knows best,'" with a sarcastic intonation. He laughed and gave me some space. I totally wasn't joking though.
Happy Mother's Day. Even if your mother isn't your best friend, and even if she's not very good at being a mom, I still wish her a happy Mother's Day, because you are here.
PS: Thank you, mom.
PPS: Yesterday, I graduated from Maine College of Art with a Master of Arts in Teaching. Yet another of my mother's brilliant ideas.