i never called my mother "ma." my dad will occasionally call my grandmother that when he's annoyed with her, but it was never my style. i called her "mom." short, sweet, to the point. there are a lot of things i want these days, first and foremost a job. but today, three years to the day after getting that call, all i really want? well, it's her.
i've been told that she wanted to be a lawyer when she grew up. she worked for lawyers when i was a kid, and she was a damn fine paralegal. but she always wanted to be the one arguing the cases. when i was a little kid, all curled up in her office with the code of alabama as a toy, i told her i was going to grow up to be a lawyer, and she would encourage the hell out of me. when i argued my "cases" in my high-school mock trial programs, she'd challenge me, help me refine my points and sharpen my analyses. i was good. and i was good because she made me good.
but the bitch of it is, she never got to see it happen for real. i was halfway through 1L year when i got that call. i hadn't talked to her in forever. i can't even remember if she knew i was in law school or not. i think so. but that's the way these things work when reality, complication, etc. set in. the night before my divorce was finalized, i lay in the arms of my man, a boy she always loved when we were kids, and cried like my heart was broken (because it felt like it was). i wept for the loss of my marriage, even though it was what i wanted. my heart broke for the mistakes i made, the sorrow i caused us both, all of that. and when i was able to choke out a sentence, what did i say? "i want my mom." because i did. who else do you turn to when your walls are crumbling, when you're hurt, sad and confused? wounded babies cry for mama. apparently, so do wounded women.
today i wore black, i played our old song. i looked at myself in the mirror and noticed all the ways i've grown to resemble her. with my hair red, it's uncanny. i celebrated the legacy of the woman who made me who i am. it just sucks beyond belief that i reached her goal, attained her dream, and she didn't make it to see. all i can do is make damn sure i live up to the standards she set. no time to rest on my laurels now.
Letter 70: Be Louder
5 weeks ago