They warned me that the first year after graduation would be hard. Other people are successful: secure jobs, new apartments, and beautiful shoes. I’m back at home.
I’m very lucky in that I’ve always gotten along well with my parents. My mom was THAT mom, who drove me to school every morning and picked me up every afternoon, who never missed a class trip, who always made sure my PB&J was cut into a heart, and who put a hot dinner on the table every night. Then, when I was about 16 everything changed. Her memory had been poor for a long time, but we thought the absent-mindedness about the little things wasn’t a major cause for concern. We thought how easily she got tired was from a lack of exercise. By the time we finally got a diagnosis, the damage had been done. Multiple Sclerosis had already taken her ability to endure, to remember my college major, and even to empathize. It’s a nasty, progressive disease. I dealt with the repercussions for the tail end of high school and then left for college. I would call home every night and repeat myself 5 times over the course of a few minutes because she tried to care about how I was doing but couldn’t recall events from one day to the next. Or the names of my new friends, or what I was learning in class, or what I got on that paper I was so excited to talk about. It sucked. But I only had to face it on a few weekends, holidays, and phone calls.
Now I’m in her house, and it’s really, really hard. It’s hard to see people who have moms who can walk the boardwalk with them without having to maneuver a heavy power scooter, it’s hard to see moms who write heartfelt messages about their daughter’s accomplishments on Facebook, and it’s hard to know that I should appreciate the fact that I have a mom who gave it all for so much of my life, but who just can’t do it anymore. I was so fortunate to have a supermom during my childhood, but I wish that same woman were here for me now. She gets around with a walker and a scooter, she tells me she’s glad that I’m back home, and I know it could be way worse.
One of the lessons I’ve learned over the past year is that it’s okay to feel bad. The fact that it could be worse doesn’t invalidate that the situation you’re in causes you pain. Don’t wait to go to the mall with your mom, or take her out to lunch, or just sit on the porch and talk with her. You never know when those moments can change forever. Appreciate everything, and take lessons wherever you can. I hear these things build character.
Title: How to Return Home, Kerrigan-Lowdermilk, which encompasses my emotions perfectly