"It all works out. It always has. It always will. You're gonna be okay, honey."
She says it with such determination. A calm serene acceptance, an inner peace for the moment, for the truth. I want to believe her. I want to know she's right, it's true. And I do. She calms my doubts, she validates my strength.
She's believed it from the beginning. As they wheeled her across the parking lot, her ass hanging out of the hospital gown. I was coming. And she knew it. It was going to be a struggle. A 5 pound preemie. All alone.
But she did it. She foraged the way for us.
It was just us. And it wasn't. Aunts. Uncles. Cousins. Family. Friends. Music. Ballet. Broken down cars. Potato bugs.
The never-ending battle of a single mom's budget.
Living on faith, of pay check to pay check. When I needed new toe shoes for ballet, or clothes for school, we had just enough. When we moved back in with my grandma, and my mom switched careers to stay home with me, to be my mom, we had each other.
Sometimes it was a tough journey.
We battled for a while, as most mothers and daughters might. Getting boundaries clear. Unpacking and throwing out the old baggage. Making amends. Growing up.
"Why doesn't she want the same things I want?" I asked my husband. It was a hard lesson to learn, to let go of the expectations of what I thought the perfect mom should be. And then it wasn't. Because in letting go, I was able to see all I have, in my beautiful, courageous and powerful mom.
I respect and admire her.
Not because she's always done it perfectly, but because she's always loved me. Even when I disrespected her. Even when I denied her. Even when she didn't do it right. She still loved me, wholeheartedly. And even when I thought she was full of shit, or when she left me disappointed, I always knew she would be there for me, even if I didn't want to hear it.
"Love is unconditional, Aubrey. No matter what, I will always be your mom, and I will always love you."
My mom always makes it work.
Because she loves me.
It feels good to be her daughter.
Because I don't have to be perfect either.