Today was not my day.
We were in the middle of a CVS and I started crying because I saw this Mike Wazowksi stuffed animal, and it reminded me of how fast I'm growing up. It was really, really stupid. You gave me your sunglasses to cover my blotchy eyes and told me to pretend we were at the pharmacy because I had an eye infection. I was sniffling and wearing these ridiculously oversized sunglasses (because sometimes you dress like an honest-to-god celebrity), and all the pharmacists and the people in line looked at us like we were insane. You didn't care. We drove around for a bit in your brand new car and you told me that there are just days like this and that I was going to be okay.
Later tonight, I went out for some fresh air. You picked me up in your pajama pants. I could tell that you were really tired. From the kitchen now, I can see the edge of your socks on our Michigan blanket. You were watching your lawyer show and you fell asleep on the couch again. Thanks for picking me up.
Dad says that when we were still living in that two-flat on Carmen, you liked to play Van Morrison and dance around in circles with me. "Into The Mystic" was our favorite one. To this day, I still love when I hear Van sing, "We were born before the wind." and when I'm away at school and they play"Brown-Eyed Girl" at the bar, I always think of our old house.
It used to be just me, you, dad, and a black lab. I was your first kid, and you and dad were barely 30 when I was born. You are both tan and happy in our first family photos. I like to think that the two of you were pretty excited to have me. I remember when dad painted The Cow Jumped Over The Moon on the far wall of my bedroom. There would be this big, bright-yellow saucer moon, and a smiling spoon holding hands with a dish waiting for me when I came home. I know that you wanted me to be a happy kid from the very first day. You dressed me like a chubby little corn on the cob for my first Halloween.
You watched "Monsters Inc." with me on the couch almost every night, and I know you got tired of it. You walked me around the neighborhood with stroller shaped like a little red car and we were the coolest chicks on the block. I lost my favorite stuffed animal, this spotted little dog, and we searched together for hours. You even helped me make "MISSING" posters and post them around the neighborhood, in case I left him at the park or playing outside. You brushed out my curls every morning before school even when I screamed and cried and fought you. You drove me to violin practice on Tuesday nights and let me play my Taylor Swift CD's on the way there, as long as you could listen to your music on the way back. One year you even took me to see her in concert at the Allstate Arena. You bought me a Taylor Swift poster, and we watched her music videos together on the home computer. You worked hard so I could have a good childhood.
You opened your own law practice and saved up money so I could go to this fancy, private school in the West Loop. The people there were different than me. They dressed differently and talked in a different way than I'd grown up with. To be crass, the majority of them had lots of money- and they acted like it. So, what did you do? You busted your ass off, and in addition to paying what was essentially college tuition, you took me shopping at Vineyard Vines so I could fit in with the kids at school. That was almost too nice of you. Like, maybe you should have just told me to shut up, wear the clothes I had already, and deal with it. You're too giving for that.
During the winter when the days were hard and everything just felt crappy, I took the Taylor Street bus to your office after school. You always gave me money to go get Chipotle across the street. You cleared out the conference room so I could either nap or do homework. We drove home together from downtown and the traffic was always unbearable, but we talked about what was going on in our lives as we inched down the highway. On the days like those, I felt like you were my best and truest friend in the world.
You taught me to be down-to-earth, and that a glass of wine a day is good for the health.
You didn't bat an eye when I told you I wanted to major in journalism. You stayed up late with me one night when I was a little bit... "sick", and ran a marathon the next day. I watched you run a political campaign and win fair-and-square. You refused to play into the games of politics, and I watched you become a Cook County Judge because of how fair and genuine you are. You taught me that dark hair and red lipstick will never go out of style. You taught me that a clean house is essential for peace of mind. You told me to never go to bed mad at someone I love.
So mother, as I reflect on the day we went through together today, I want you to know that the way you care for me will never go unnoticed. You are a kickass, professional woman, but also a pretty fun lady to be around. Thanks for your wisdom.
Thanks for everything.