This I Believe
When I was a child, my mother would hold my hand tightly to walk me across the parking lot of the grocery store. I would close my eyes shut and, with a daring and bold trust, allowed her to guide me through the metal labyrinth of cars and shopping carts. When I grew up in a small, sagging house in New York and my mother had no money to spend on Christmas presents, I found her wardrobe would shrink while the wrapped, mysterious gifts under our tree would increase. When I had forgotten about my science projects, my mother would stay up throughout the night to finish molding cavemen and dinosaurs out of clay while I remained tucked into my bed for a wonderful night of sleep. When I was in high school and my mother’s car was uncharacteristically in our driveway in the middle of the day, she did not hide her fears of being laid off from me. She opened her arms and let me know she could cry too. When I sat alone in the kitchen in the middle of the night, drinking hot tea and wondering what would become of the life I had gotten so comfortable with, my mother’s feet would slide across the cold tile and join me. She did not know what to do and wanted me to be aware of that.
My mother wasn’t the kind of person who would hug and kiss me every night. She didn’t tell me she loved me. She didn’t line our stairwell with a montage of my childhood photographs or sign me up for after school sports. She didn’t need to. I could tell she cared about me through the sacrifices she made just so I could be the tiniest bit happier. And now, after moving out, I can see how much she misses me. When I come home to visit her, she scoops me up in a large embrace and her hurried words tickle my ears. She misses me, she whines, and I should come by to see her more often. I have dinner with her and while she passes the potatoes, she blatantly hints at how much easier life would be for me if I decided to come back home. A quicker commute, she reasons. I shake my head and hide a smile. When I was younger, I sometimes wished my mother would be more open with how she felt about me. Now, I see she always was. I believe my mother loves me, no matter the way she decides to show it.
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