There is nothing worse than being in an unhealthy and rocky relationship, and not being ready to pull the Band-Aid off and move on. Because, for all the pain and dysfunction, you still try to convince yourself, and anyone who will listen, that things will work out. It will get better. We will both try harder and get through this. But when your mom hears this rehearsed rationalization for the 100th time, after the 100th heartbreak from the same issue, she can see clearly the main point you are missing: people don’t change for other people. Especially a boy who is breaking your heart repeatedly. She’ll wipe away your tears and tell you this; time and time again. And if you’re anything like me, you will only grow more defensive of the one hurting you and completely disregard the cautions of the woman who gave you life, because, what does she know anyway?
But after some trial and error, and a few more heartaches, I finally realized she was right. I ripped that Band-Aid off and just like always, she was there with a hug a reminder that now the gash would heal.
And then she was right about another relationship with another boy in my life: my little brother. Gahh, he drove me crazy and annoyed the bejeezus out of me when we were young. He knew me very well, which meant he knew every button to push. Triggering my annoyance into wrath. Through tears of rage, I would beg her to make him stop. Her most common reply was, “Be nice to each other. Someday you’ll need him and you two will be best friends.” I am pretty sure I would just laugh straight in her face about this. Yeah, right. But here we are a good 15 years later and I am happy to concede. Mom, you were right. I need that little brother of mine. He still knows me best, and now uses that knowledge to make me feel supported, understood, happy and loved. And only occasionally, slightly annoyed.
I don’t know how she knows, but there has been little in my life that she has been wrong about. Except for that time, when I was three years old. Now, I can’t remember a conversation about birth (mine, or anyone else’s) which doesn’t involve my mom beaming with pride and adoration as she retells how my head was covered in curls from the moment I was born. But it seems there is a period, or perhaps a single day or hour, in which she forgot that I was endowed with naturally curly hair. This was the day before my first dance recital, when the teacher asked the parents to put their little girl’s hair in curlers overnight for the next day’s performance. My well-meaning (and seemingly forgetful) mother did just that. The hair that followed, when she removed those foamy, pink, headache inducing curlers from my head, would have made Orphan Annie jealous. Curls for days, is an understatement.
Even through her few mistakes as my mom, she has taught me so many priceless lessons and I am thankful daily for her wisdom and guidance. I only wish I had listened to her earlier, so she wouldn’t have had so many opportunities to practice her humble ability to hold her tongue and refrain from many well deserved, “I told you so’s.”
The ever-wild curls are slicked back for whatever occasion we are celebrating here.