Of Mom and Me, Another Year

“A daughter is a mother’s gender partner, her closest ally in the family confederacy, an extension of her self. And mothers are their daughters’ role model, their biological and emotional road map, the arbiter of all their relationships.”

— Victoria Secunda

She’s noticed it, too—the older I get, the more the dynamic between us changes. The less we have to be parent and child, and the more we can be mother and daughter—friends. Except, today, I’m not the one getting older, Mom—you are.

Happy birthday, Mom.

You don’t look like you’re 48 today…and since you’re likely to comment about how you’d rather I not comment on your age this way, I’ll just slip in a subtle comment about how Dad is TWO YEARS OLDER than you and his birthday is in NOVEMBER. There, how’s that? 😉

Really, though. Every tabloid I read has quotes from multiple women who state that the older they get, the better they feel, the more confident, the more beautiful, the less they care that they’re aging, blah blah… Of course, even the more trustworthy tabloids (kind of an oxymoron, I know) are still tabloids, and those women are more often than not celebrities, and…celebrities age differently. The entire world watches, but they typically have thousands of dollars and “people for that” so it’s…different. See, we ordinary people don’t have that. You don’t have that. And frankly, I think Botox is stupid, so I’m glad you don’t have that—and, just like the makeup you complain about having to put on anytime I want to go anywhere, I don’t believe you need it. (Although if putting on makeup makes you feel more beautiful, then, fine. I get it, because I actually do feel kind of different with a French manicure and a pair of wedge heels…)

So, anyway, how do you feel today? I don’t see the point of asking whether or not you feel any older, because I still remember everybody asking me that on my birthday growing up, as is a common question for kids, and the answer was always no. No, I don’t think it’s ever your birthday that makes you feel older—it’s the day-to-day living. The wrangling of a child. The constant stream of laundry. The bills that pile up on the counter, demanding attention, as you reach for the coffeepot each morning. The airports and airplanes that accompany international travel—the exhausting, unglamorous part of travel that nobody thinks about when they think about jet-setting around the world. (No, you’re not actually “jet-setting.” But I like the term, so I’ll use it.)

You know, I think that if there’s anything in the world that makes you feel old, it’s probably…me. I turned 23 this year. I’m your only child; you’ve spent years raising me, teaching me, disciplining me, loving me, annoying me… (Remember when I finally called you annoying, and every time thereafter you would say, “Thank you! I’m annoying!” with that grin on your face like you were so proud of it…? Oy.) See, I’ve been your entire life.

I appreciate that, you know.

I appreciate even more how we’re both getting older and what that’s meant for the dynamic of our relationship. How we can spend a day in Pearland or drive to the outlet malls on a whim. Have lunch, gang up on Dad. How it becomes easier for me, the older I get and the closer we are, to talk to you about problems of all kinds, or, if I need it, to just vent. Though the older I get, too, the more often I catch myself saying something, and immediately have to follow it up with, “My god, I sound like my mother.” 😳 But I bet you get a kick out of that!

Happy birthday, Mom. I love you.

P. S…

Just for good measure. 😉

To the Bride and Groom

All right, Bails. This one’s for you.

I’d hoped to finish your story to be able to give to you today, but that didn’t happen. You’ll have to be content with this until I can present the other to you, preferably in person, but you never know.

What a whirlwind of a day, really, and I wonder if you feel any different. Some things have changed for you, but what really matters is what’s at the heart of your relationship with Ronnie, and I don’t think anything about that is different now that you’re married. You’re still in love, you’re still the same couple, and you still have just as good of a chance of making it as you ever have.

Like I told him after the ceremony, “I know I don’t have to tell you to take care of her.” The same goes for you, too, Bailey—I know I don’t have to tell you to take care of him, because I’ve watched your relationship unfold since our junior year of high school—February 8, 2011, am I right?? I believe in it because I believe in both of you.

It feels weird to me to think that you’re married, and how quickly it’s happened, while at the same time how long it’s taken to get here. It definitely feels like a lifetime since we created our friendship video in your bedroom, dancing around in ridiculous outfits and making fun of our teenage life. Ronnie, it feels like a dozen lifetimes since our days at OLQP together. So many memories with each of you, and my only regret is that I don’t have more with both of you.

I wish you the world. I’d never have made it this far in my life without either of you, honestly, and I need you to know that. The truth is, we’re in different places now in our lives—of course, and it’s not because you’re married!—but my Baikey, I’ll always be here whenever you need me. You too, Ronnie, though of course I have much lower expectations for you running to me for anything than I do for her!

We’ve grown up. Now what’s left is for all of us to grow old, and for you two to do it together. I can’t wait to watch it happen.

Forever and always,

Your Nina Belle