There was a period of time where I fell astray from my family and sought after the love and approval from anyone but them. It was a pure example of teenage angst. I look back on this short-lived rebellion and gawk at the fact that I didn't value that the truest love, friendship, and support system was right in front of me.
As I grow and prosper in my life outside of the comfort of my own home, my mom has become the only best friend that I need.
We rant about our lives as if there isn't a four-hour drive between us.
Some things in college are better left unsaid, but I don't exaggerate when I say that I tell my mom anything and everything.
Every weekend brings about a new play-by-play of debauchery and often times silence on her end. I understand that not every parent loves to hear about their underage daughter falling off of elevated surfaces and coming home at 4 a.m., but my mother so graciously listens to every detail. She has an abundance of stories from her teenage years, too, let's not forget.
She also knows of all the drama there is to know about ex-boyfriends, new relationships, and hook-up culture. If anyone could write an exposé on my life, it's her.
I also call so often to check up on her. There are days back in New Jersey where the sun isn't shining so bright and I know that she needs an extra ear to listen. I will always be the support system to her that she is to me as my life would not be the same without her in it.
Though the distance feels unimaginable at times, sometimes a phone call or text brings a little slice of home right back into my life.
When the entire world annoys me, my mom is always there to save the day.
I love the relationships I have cultivated in college, I do, but sometimes after spending every waking moment with the same people, I just need my mom.
No one truly understands the daily bullshit just like mom. She has seen every superficial girl and every douchebag guy and I have called her both at 12 p.m. and 2 a.m. because of either. It's easy to forget that my mom was once in my shoes, fighting with a friend or mending a broken heart, and her empathy provides me with the opportunity to grow from the drama.
Her devotion to our family tends to go unnoticed and I am truly grateful for all she does.
Growing up my dad went to work while my mom juggled the behind-the-scenes chaos of raising four children, cooking and cleaning for a household of six, and maintaining her own personal life. This is not to discredit the hard work my father, to this day, puts in for the family, but I have not truly acknowledged the sacrifices my mother has made in order for our entire family to lead a better life.
After a long day's work, she has always made an effort to put dinner on the table, adjusting every recipe to my picky eating and my sibling's dietary restrictions. Now with my siblings moved out and my dining hall experiences, all we wish for is a home cooked meal on a daily basis. I never truly appreciated mom's cooking until I didn't have it anymore.
The holiday season has always been marked with the smell of pumpkin pie in November and the quick transition to chocolate chip cookies in December. While our family traditions have never been eccentric, but my mom consistently makes the holiday season feel at home. Every Thanksgiving brings about the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing made with love and leftovers that last for days. Christmas morning is always filled with the fresh smell of eggnog waiting on the coffee table and the floor under the tree decorated with presents for all four siblings. Now that significant others have entered mine and my sibling's lives, my mom opens her home to new faces and allows the holiday spirit to spread amongst an entirely new generation of O'Donnell's.
As I grew up, I finally took the opportunity to take a step back and reflect upon the love and effort my mother poured into our family. Though Mother's Day only comes once every spring, I value and appreciate her 365 days of the year.
She's my rock, my dose of positivity, my light at the end of a tunnel.
Despite our rocky past, I wouldn't trade the relationship between my mother and me for the world. When the dreary weather in Cuseland feels overarchingly depressing and all I want to do is lay in bed, her words of encouragement bring more motivation to my lazy bones than she may realize.
If someone told me three years ago that my mom would have been my best friend, I would have laughed. I know that sounds horrible, but there have been some situations in life that left grudges and bad feelings.
Now, however, I am so eternally grateful for the strong, empowering woman in my life that I am able to call mom and best friend. It took quite some growing up to realize that life would not be bearable without her by my side. Each and every day I am blessed to feel her love, no matter the distance between us.