Usually when I call, people don’t pick up.
MoOoOommmm. Mom. Mom. Pickup please. I know it’s almost midnight and you need to be up at 6 for work. At least you live alone now and you don’t have anyone to drive to school, or pack a lunch for. So you have time to edit my essay, right? And buy those plane tickets I need? Also, I’m going to need more money. Some stuff came up that I didn’t budget for in my allowance and, you know, I can’t get a job right now. I love you!
Mom, you shouldn’t be surprised that I’m asking for all of this. That’s all I do, really. I ask, and plead, occasionally beg. I definitely need all of this. I need you, too. We’ve been in this together for two decades now, and it’s way too late to bail. You’ve already survived the worst. I’m not 14 anymore, and the tantrums are over. I’m not 15 anymore, and you don’t have to peel my unconscious body off downtown sidewalks or hose me down after a bender. I’m not 16 anymore, and I’ve learned to keep you out of my moments of self-hate. I know it’s not your fault.
Mom I’m grown up now, soon I won’t depend on you anymore. Although I wouldn’t be so sure. As I get older, I feel like I need your help more than ever. I won’t admit that though, because once I get my degree and a real job and an apartment and a life, I won’t need you anymore- right? I read somewhere that the rate at which us humans grow up doesn’t really make sense from an evolutionary perspective. Humans give birth to these fragile creatures who take way too long to stand on their own feet and fend for themselves. Compared to other species, our moms stay moms for way too long. Do you think that’s true, that you’ve been my mom for too long?
Mom, I know this isn’t really what you wanted. You didn’t want motherhood to define you, like it defined the women before you, and still does in most of the world. You were born in the 60’s, born with a choice. But somehow, here I am - half of your genes in the flesh. It always got you, when I’d scream at the top of my lungs to just admit it already, how much you resented me for being. Back then, it was hard for me to understand that you could want both and be both: my mom and your own person. It was even harder to understand how much it hurt, when the person you gave up so much for just always needs so much more.
Mom I hope you know how great you are. I don’t know where it all comes from when you keep on giving. Of course, I expect it, but I still don’t get it. Mother Love is a myth, you know. The bottomless pool of affection and devotion isn’t hardwired in our ovaries. Some moms throw their little girls in rivers and let them float away into the distance. And to think I hated you for dropping me off at the neighbourhood pool for weekly swim classes. No, all moms aren’t made equal and I sure as hell lucked out. You set the bar real fucking high, and there’s no way I can reach it now. Maybe I’ll just give you my kid to raise, like I give you my laundry to wash. Even when I diligently separate whites and colours, something always ends up bleeding. It would probably be for the best to let you raise your grandchildren. I wouldn’t want someone to end up bleeding, too. We can talk about it later.
Mom you don’t need to worry about that right now. I promise to be careful and stay in school. That’s the least I can do. So will you edit that essay? It’s due tomorrow and I really need you to look it over before I turn it in. And don’t forget that bank deposit! You know I have to eat, right? Love you.