Sunday, May 9, 2010

I love my mom.

I don't recall ever going through that door-slamming middle school phase so often portrayed on TV, where the thirteen-year-olds with considerable amounts of eyeshadow and angst exclaim, "MY MOM'S SUCH A BITCH; I HATE HER." I never joined in on the ninth grade gym class discussions about whose parents were worse, and I never texted my friends under the table about how tortured I was to be living at home. There was definitely a period of time when I felt like I had nothing in common with my mom, like we were totally different personality types, and like we could rarely relate to each other... but I can honestly say with total confidence that, however secretly, I have always thought highly of my mother.

My sisters are rather feminine (sometimes excruciatingly so, although I both love and like them very much), so I tend to have a more natural inclination towards men, as if I need to balance out our family dynamic. Because of this, I often praise and label my father as my hero, but it's really unfair that I've never taken much time to talk about what a wonderful mother I have. Funny how I want rewards whenever I accomplish something that's expected of me, but I never provide my mom with any credit for how much she constantly gives, gives, gives to her family. She gave up her body to have and chase four kids, she's given up her sleep when we've been out acting stupid, and she gracefully gives up her dignity whenever we collectively make her the subject of our teasing. Nobody in our family provides as much, and nobody receives less recognition.

Oh, and on top of being an excellent mother, she's also an extraordinary person.

There seems to be a turning point in adolescence when it finally occurs to us that our parents are real, individual human beings with faults and shortcomings and desires and needs, rather than robots designed to do our bidding and sometimes stop us from eating stuff that tastes good. While it embarrasses me to admit this, I think I reached that stage a little later than average with regards to my mom. I poke fun of her for only having five childhood stories, all of which I've heard a thousand times*, but that's because it's rather difficult for me to imagine this organized, mature, put-together woman as a messy little girl. With difficulty, I can use our few home movies to picture a pregnant, permed, 1987 version of her. But in my mind, my mother popped out of the womb in a turtleneck, weighing a hundred pounds, holding a To Do list. The thought of her having braces or going to prom is still surreal to me.

That's why it's come as such a surprise to me that, as of the last few months, she and I are sort of becoming friends. Suddenly, I've had realization after epiphany: finding similarities in our facial expressions, becoming aware of the fact that she entered into her first** Big Deal Relationship at the same age (same MONTH, even) as I did. Noticing that we sometimes, almost, nearly share a sense of humor.*** As cliche as the metaphor is, I feel like we're entering into a new chapter in our relationship. Out of nowhere, I'm starting to possess traits of a legitimate adult. And while I don't claim to have the same maturity level and poise as she did at my age, when she was working a real job and about to get real engaged, I consider it an honor to resemble my beautiful mother in any way.

So there, I said it. The end. Stop looking at me like that. :)

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*1. She broke her leg playing outside. 2. She didn't make the cheerleading squad her junior year, but tried harder next time. 3. She embarrassed herself in front of the teacher she had a crush on. 4. A guy once gave her a card reading, "To a sweat girl on Sweatest Day." 5. On their first date, my dad told her not to wear so much makeup.

**And last. Mom also deserves serious props for maintaining such a healthy and awesome marriage for almost thirty years, and counting.

***I only say that, Mom, because I know it'll mean a lot to you. If you ask me about this sentence on any other day of the year, I will continue to swear that I am hilarious, and that you are utterly unfunny.