My mom is one of my closest friends. We talk almost every day. We've always had a very open relationship. I could ask her anything and she would give me an honest, age-appropriate answer. That's why I think it's really weird when people can't talk to their parents about s.ex. My mom and I have been talking about it since I was 7. I haven't wanted to talk to her about any of that since it was actually a possibility because she reacts ridiculously and I also don't ever want to be that age appropriate. The time she told me I shouldn't kiss until I get married kind of killed it. It's gross now. Lol.
Growing up, we always knew we would go to college. It wasn't presented as an option or even pushed on us. It was just the logical next step when you finish high school. Oddly, though, she never got bent out of shape about grades. In some ways I think I needed a little more pushing to overcome my sense of procrastination and sometimes laziness. I wanted to test her theory of not caring about grades but my competitiveness wouldn't let someone I knew wasn't smarter than me do better than me constantly because they worked harder. But that's not the mother she was destined to be. Her own mother ruled her with a sort of iron fist. Not like she beat her but she told my mother what to do with her life and my mom did it with little to no argument. So instead of majoring in history or political science, she picked the major her mother wanted, music, and has not stopped regretting it.
However, it shaped the mother she is today. She always made big life choices OUR choices, not hers. She always tells us we're the ones who have to live with it, not her. This is huge. I realize how huge the older I get as I see many of my friends and acquaintances struggling under the weight of dreams of their parents without being given to chance to develop their own. She delights in our successes and brushes us off when we fail. Sometimes I want her to commiserate with me when I'm down or at least give some sort of helpful instruction or advice and she's more like, "What do you want me to do?? It's going to be fine." This can be infuriating! But I've learned to just pick someone else to help sometimes. Lol.
My mom struggled with depression when we were younger but rarely let that effect us. Sometimes when we talk about times she was mean to us, she admits it was a symptom of the depression. But because she got help, she has become an advocate for mental health in the black community, both in helping to erase the stigma by talking about it and in her job. She has worked in the legal profession as a paralegal for nearly 20 years and in the last 10 years, she has been able to combine her love of helping people with her job. She helps the low income get their benefits, whether disability, SSI, the new welfare. She helps AIDS patients, the homeless, adults who can't read and she loves it. She finds herself becoming a pseudo-social worker because she wants to help them in every facet of their lives and I love her for it.
We had a very difficult relationship when I hit the age of 9 and began emotional puberty. There were crying and shouting matches between us. I was sullen and angry and I didn't know why. I still don't really understand it but it took us almost 10 years to recover. I'm sure it amazes her that we're as close as we are now. It certainly helps that we don't live in the same household. What also helped was seeing how close my friend B was to her mother. They talked several times a day. I was jealous of that relationship so I began working on my relationship with my mom. Several times a day, though? That wasn't going to be us. We did well to start at once a week.
Despite the rocky years, I felt a connection to my mom. I followed her footsteps to Hampton and considered majoring in music (but hated theory). She was happy I went to Hampton but would have supported me wherever I went, just like she did when my sister did not go to our home by the sea. We grew up surrounded by her involvement with the alumni and her sorority, which is now our sorority. When I learned through research she was among the first initiates of our sorority at Hampton, I felt even more drawn. Now me and my sister can also call our mom our sister. It's really cool. But today what I'm most proud of is our great relationship and the fact that she supports me and my goals, even if they're not hers. I have an awesome mom.