This I Believe

Abigail - Alexandria, Virginia
Entered on January 25, 2007

My mom is yelling at me. We are yelling at the top of our lungs in the kitchen, standing only a few feet from each other. She is 47, has three kids, has moved three times since setting out on her own in her early 20’s, and has changed jobs twice. She cooks, cleans, works, attends her kids performances, and provides loving support. She does it all day long, every day, non-stop. She is a working mother of the 90s and I am her college going daughter, about to enter my last year of college. It doesn’t take a genius to guess what we are fighting about.

I do not know what I want to do with my life.

“So, have you decided what classes you’re going to take next semester?” She is making friendly conversation and does not realize that she has just stepped into a minefield.

“I was looking through the course booklet and I think I might take some rural sociology courses.” I say it quietly and turn back to stacking dried glasses in the cabinet.

She looks at me quizzically, like I am testing her patience. I can just about hear her forming her reply in her mind.

“Why would you do that?”

It’s a question meant to figure out what exactly has gone wrong with my brain during the selection process.

“Well, I don’t know…”

The bombshell has been dropped.

I have answered her polite inquiry with the unforgivable answer. The reply of a teenager who has done something wrong- knows it- and yet, is unwilling to admit it.

She licks her bottom lip and then pauses with her lips slightly open for a moment, “What are you going to do with rural sociology classes?” She emphasizes the what and swings the sentence up as if the words are floating away from her.

It’s a quiz.

I know how she wants me to answer. She wants me to tell her that I was only kidding; that I’m only considering one rural sociology class as an optional elective; that I plan to take classes that “make sense”- classes in my major.

She does not want to hear, under any circumstances, that I have decided to take an entire semesters worth of rural sociology classes because they

“sound like fun!”

I’m pretty sure my mom sees college as a means to an end. It is a tool to get you where you want to go in life. The problem is…what if you don’t know where you want to go in life.

I don’t know where I want to go

But she knows where she wants me go

So…now we fight

Loudly, closely, unabashedly

Both of us are on the brink of throwing things

At each other

Because, for the life of me- I cannot understand why she does not get that I am at the brink of a crisis here…And she- cannot for the life of her understand why I am making such a big deal out of… nothing