Sea glass eyes and copper hair, my mother sits reading in the arm-chair in the far corner of the poorly lit living room. As she flips a page, wedding ring loose on her aging hands, I notice a squint in her concentration. Her reading glasses lay dumbly beside her, but I know she is too proud to admit she wears them.
I browse Pinterest, sending her pins that could only humor her. Her phone lights up with the notification in the lap of her paint-stained sweatpants, but she swipes her reddish hair behind her ears and puts a finger across the pages of her book. A sadness grows like a wave in the sheen of aquamarine. My mother has a special fondness for poignant fantasies. I wait until a tear releases to pry her from her fiction, and she looks at the pictures I’ve sent and laughs. I grin. She goes back to her stories, and I take my cat into my arms.
So our nights go like this, and it’s a palatable routine. Sometimes we put our books and worldly distractions aside, and I crawl into her lap, and we talk. Other times we cry, and we spend moments relishing our relationship. Though my hair is lighter, and eyes bluer, I believe my mother was born again in me. She is my soul mate. She is my indubitable companion. She’s my hero.
I went to class today, and as my teacher signed into his Google account via SmartBoard, the National Women’s Equality Day Google banner was broadcasted across the projector. I wasn’t aware that there was a day for celebrating women and highlighting our rights and struggles, but when I thought about it became increasingly obviously that it would be ludicrous if there wasn’t. I thought immediately of my darling supporter, my mother, who deserves every celebration of every average day. After all, we women may be equal, but no father could match my mother. She is unattainable.
Thinking about leaving in a year to begin college burns my eyes. I consider the possibility of dorm nights without braiding my mother’s delicate hair. I contemplate the prospect of going to class without her kissing my forehead as I walk out the door, leaving the sweet stain of Burt Bee’s raisin gloss sticking to my skin. Most of all, I worry about her. I’m anxious for the days that frustrate her when I’m not there to gossip and join in on her pity parties. I’ll miss our chats and giggles and the way she makes me feel truly beautiful without ever complimenting my physical aspects. She shows me how glamor is alluring, but an honest temperament is the most important quality of comeliness. She raises me to voice my opinions but warns me to keep an open mind, as I am not always as right as I try to make her believe. She tells me I am every bit as capable as my brothers. She preaches that kindness is essential; there is such a terrible force of evil in the world. Largely, she loves me and forgives any shortcomings I possess. There isn’t any one thing I could request more of from her. She is exquisite, and she still sits tonight in the chair as I type.
“What’re you writing?” She asks me now, for I’ve been staring at her for quite too long, trying to capture in words the lovely way that she mothers me.
I touch the top of my laptop, beginning to close it, but decide against it. She should read this.
“Hold on, Mom,” I’m saying to her, “Let me just finish this one thing. I think you’ll like it.”
Happy National Women’s Equality Day, Mom.