My mom and I sat in the small college cafe with out large
mugs of something that smelled like lemon and tasted like home.
We were catching up on the past four months of our lives and the
hours just weren't long enough. Sure, we had talked on the phone
and occasionally written. But the calls were long distance, and
it was rare to find a moment when my roommate wasn't waiting for
the phone or my younger brother or sister weren't waiting for my
mom. So while we knew of each other's experiences, we had not
yet dissected them. As we discussed her new job, and my latest
paper, my new love, and her latest interview, I leaned back into
my cushion and thought: I always knew when she became my mother,
but when had she become my friend?
As far back as I can remember my mom was always the first
that I came to with every tear and every laugh. When I lost a
tooth and when I found a friend, when I fell from my bike, and
when I got back on it, she was there. She never judged me; she
let me set my own expectations. She was proud when I succeeded
and supportive when I didn't. She always listened; she seemed to
know when I was asking for advice and when I just needed a good
cry. She multiplied my excitement with her own and divided my
frustrations with her empathy and understanding. When she picked
me up from school, she always asked about my day. And I remember
one day asking about hers. I think I was a little surprised that
she had so much to say. We rarely had late night talks (because
she was already asleep), nor early morning ones (because I was
not yet up), but in between the busy hours of our filled days, we
found the time to fill each other's ears with stories and hearts
with love. She slowly shared more and more of her own life with
me, and that made me feel more open with her. We shared
experiences and hopes, frustrations and fears. Learning that she
still had blocks to build and to tumble made me more comfortable
with my own. She made me feel that my opinions were never
immature and my thoughts never silly. What surprises me now is
not that she always remembered to tell me "sweet dreams", but
that she never forgot to tell me that she believed in me. When
she started going through some changes in her life, I had the
opportunity to tell her that I believed in her too.
My mother had always been a friend. She had given me her
heart in its entirety; but her soul, she divulged in pieces, when
she knew that I was ready.
I sat across from the woman who had given me my life and
then shared hers with me. Our mugs were empty, but our hearts
were full. We both knew, that tomorrow she'd return to the
bustle of Los Angeles and I1d remain in the hustle of New Haven.
I know that we are both growing and learning. Yet, we continue
to learn about each other and grow closer. Our relationship was
like the tea we had sipped, mixed with honey and lemon, the
longer it steeped, the better it tasted.