My Mom Is My Best Friend, I Just Choose to Keep Her From Knowing Anything About Me
“How are you?” she asks as I walk around my room in circles.
“Fine,” I say.
“What have you been doing lately?”
“Nothing, really. Nothing out of the ordinary, I mean. Just — Mom, what are you doing?” I say, slightly annoyed.
“Well, it sounds like your hitting pans together over the phone. Can we just talk later?”
“Yeah, that’s fine. Call me — ”
“I will, I will. Okay. Love you, bye.”
“Love you, too. Take care of yourself.”
“Always,” I say, routinely. “Bye, Mamma.”
I end the call and sit on my bed to watch Netflix. Four hours later I get ready for bed and go to sleep without calling her back.
On this Mother’s Day, I just want to say thank you for all that you do for me. You are the best friend I always need — the person I can turn to when everyone else seems to have their back towards me. You’re always there to listen and give the best advice, and the love you show me is something for which I am most grateful. Mom, you are my greatest blessing. I love you with all my heart, and everything that I am and everything I have done is because of you, for you. You are the beginning and end of my existence, you are my inspiration and motivation. All I want in this life is to see you happy, to make you proud, and to make sure that you know how much you are loved. There aren’t words nor time enough to tell you all that you mean to me, but I hope this gives you at least a small idea and makes you smile on this most important of important days. I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.
“Baby!” she screams as I walk in the door with my luggage.
“Mom!” I put my things down and walk into her arms. It feels good to be home, it feels good to be in her embrace.
“How was the drive?”
“It was fine. I gotta help Dad finish unloading the van.”
“Do you guys need help?”
“No, that’s okay. I think we got it.”
“I’ll take this stuff into your room,” she says as she picks up my luggage, “You just bring everything in from the car.”
“Okay, thank you.”
“I’ll be in my room,” I say, after putting my dishes in the sink.
“Are you just going to leave those there? I make dinner and still have to wash the dishes, too? When do I get break? Don’t I deserve someone to do something for me, too?”
I roll my eyes and walk back to the sink and start washing the dishes, my own and everyone else’s.
“Did you get everything you wanted to get done these last couple months on campus?”
“Kind of. I didn’t do as much writing as I would have liked, but I’m pretty happy with the reading I got done. I would have liked to spend more time by the river, or downtown just to see what life is like when all the students leave campus for the summer, but it was way too hot to do much else, and then there wasn’t AC in the house to find relief after being out, so I spent a lot of time in my room just lying on my bed trying not to sweat.”
She laughs. “Why didn’t you come home sooner, then?”
“‘Cause my lease wasn’t over until the end of June. I’m not going to pay rent for two months and not live in the house.”
“What did you write?”
“Some poetry, I guess. Mostly just journaling.”
“What did you journal about?”
“The stuff I did.”
“I just told you, read and write.”
“You journaled about reading and writing?”
“I guess,” I say with a bit more snap in my voice than I intend.
“Okay. Thank you for washing the dishes.”
“It’s fine.” I finish and walk to my room. I don’t come out for the rest of the evening.
“How was work today?”
“Same as every other day,” I tell her as I take my lunch dishes out of my backpack and put them in the sink. I think about it for a second, then walk back to the sink and start washing them. I can feel her smiling behind me. “How are you, Mom? What did you do today?”
“I cleaned the whole house. Did you notice I put your room in order?”
“Not yet. I haven’t been in my room yet.” I dry my hands and join her at the kitchen table. “I’m tired.”
“What’d you do today?”
“Working on a new project.”
“What’s the project?”
“Kind of hard to explain. I’m working on it with someone else, though, so that’s nice.”
“Yeah. I’m gonna go lay down for a bit before dinner,” I say, starting to get up.
“Sit here with me for a second. I want to talk to you.”
I get nervous and sit back down. “Is everything okay? Did something happen with grandma?”
“Everything’s fine. I just want to talk to you. We never talk, you don’t tell me anything. All the letters you write me you say I’m your best friend and that you can tell me anything, but you tell me absolutely nothing. I want to know what’s going on with you.”
I think about this for a second. I know she’s right. It’s not that I don’t believe she really could be my best friend, it’s just hard to bridge the mother-daughter gap. I know she loves me, and I love her, too, and I know she does and always will love me unconditionally, but somehow I don’t actually feel comfortable telling her everything, or anything, really. I know she wouldn’t approve of everything I do, and even if I want to share everything with her, I know some things are better kept to myself.
“Can we do this after dinner, Mom? I’m just really tired. I wanna lay down for a little bit.”
“Yeah, of course. That’s fine,” but I hear the disappointment in her voice.
I don’t remember ever having a truly open relationship with my mom. Even when I was really young, still in grade school, there was so much I kept from her, not because I was necessarily a private person — I had no problem sharing my life with my sisters and my friends, but my mom? It just seemed like a line I shouldn’t cross. The majority of my friends were the same. They did things behind their parents’ back, lied and kept secrets, and that was normal, that was the way things were supposed to be. I remember I had one friend who had a truly open relationship with both her parents, and I thought it was lovely, but I aso found it really strange and completely out of the ordinary, like she was the exception, one in a million. Youth and adolescence was for keeping secrets from your parents — it was exciting to get away with things you knew your parents wouldn’t let you do — so I always figured that the open relationship was something that would happen once I was an adult.
I’m twenty-two now. I’ve essentially lived on my own for four years, paid bills, bought groceries and cooked for myself, taken care of myself, I just graduated, I work full-time…am I not technically an adult now? So when does the relationship with my parents begin? When do I start to actually trust them and let them in? When do I stop doing the stupid shit that I feel forced to keep from them?
“There’s a new person at work,” I tell my mom as we walk our dog. “He seems really nice.”
“What’s his name?”
“That’s a nice name.”
“Yeah. And he actually goes by Lawrence. Not Larry or something stupid like that.” She laughs.
“Have you talked to him?”
“Yeah, a bit. We’re actually working on that project together.”
“And how’s the project?”
“Progress is a bit slow, but it’s coming along. It’s nice though because we’re on the same page as far as ideas go, so when we sit down to write there’s a good flow to things and we’re able to get into a nice rhythm. The only reason we haven’t made a real dent in the work is because we get a little side-tracked sometimes talking about other things, but the work isn’t so bad. We’ll have it done before the deadline.”
“That’s wonderful. It sounds like you like him.”
“Yeah, I mean, he’s nice, but I don’t like him. As a person yeah, but that’s it.”
“Okay. Is he cute?”
“Well, he’s not ugly.”
“I knew it, you like him.”
“Mom!” I start laughing. Except for when I was already dating my ex-boyfriend, I’ve never spoken to my mom about the guys in my life.
“It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone. How old is he?”
“How much older?”
I get nervous. I can already sense the change in direction of the conversation once I tell her his age.
“Like ten years older,” I say, acting like my dog peeing on someone’s grass is suddenly the most fascinating thing I’ve ever witnessed.
“Well that’s not bad.”
I turn to her, unable to hide the surprise on my face. “Not so bad? What does that mean?”
“Men mature much slower than women. The older they are, the likelier they are to be the same age as you mentally. There’s a good chance that at his age he knows what he wants, and he’s not about playing games. If he likes you, he’ll be direct, if he doesn’t, he’ll still be direct.”
I’m shocked that my mom is sharing this with me. I’m shocked that we’re having this conversation. I’m more shocked by the fact that it sounds like she would approve of me pursuing this guy.
“Yeah, well, I don’t even know if he’s necessarily single. And even if he is, I doubt he’d see me that way.”
“In what way?”
“In that way. Like, I don’t think he’d ever take me seriously.”
“I don’t know. I just imagine he sees me as a child, like way too young for him.”
“Do you think you’re too young for him?”
“So why should he?”
“I don’t know,” I laugh.
“Go for it. Drop hints. Find out if he’s single and take it from there.”
“Oh my god, Mom,” I laugh.
“What?” she says, laughing with me.
“Nothing,” I smile, “Thank you.”
She pulls me in and kisses the top of my head.