Even though my mother is my mother (and yes, I call her mother), she is also my best friend. I know I can count on her to be my biggest fan, my harshest critic, and the most loyal friend.
In the summer months between college graduation and starting my first job, I soaked up all the Florida sun that I could, breathed in all of the smells if the Gulf, and made the rounds at all of my favorite restaurants at home. With my mom.
It was one afternoon, when were dining at Frenchy’s, that the world also realized my mother was my best friend. The waiter asked us if we wanted separate checks. We looked at each other and laughed! Why would we want to have separate checks? We are family! She’s my mother!
We may look nothing alike, her and I. She has short light brown hair, paler skin, freckles. She looks Irish. I am defined by my olive skin, dark curly hair, large almond eyes. I look Arab. Like my dad. But we share a smile. Arguably both of our best features.
But over the years, from being a somewhat-but-not-really rebellious teenager to an advice seeking college graduate, 5 things have made me realize why my mother is my best friend.
1. Her inherent beauty inspires me to be my most positive self.
She doesn’t think she is the most beautiful woman, but she tells me I’m beautiful every single day. But I think she’s the most beautiful person I have ever met. Inside and out. She wears no makeup. Ever. (Unless I’m home and she has an even to go to. Then I sit on the countertop in her bathroom and put on her makeup for her.) But she doesn’t need it. She is the most generous, kind, loving, and positive person I know. She can find the happy in every situation, something she has taught me. She thrives off of other people’s energy. Her beauty radiates in her determination, ambition, and perseverance. Her beauty is the most rare and beautiful kind. It’s internal. It is visible from the inside out. It’s the kind of beauty that lasts a lifetime and never fades.
2. She tells me what I need to hear not what I want to hear, especially when it comes to relationships.
She has stood by me through every relationship I have been though. She has been the friend I turn to for advice. She has been the shoulder I cry on. The friend I vent to. The friend I tell everything to (minus a few details, she is still my mother after all!) I could hear the pain in her voice when I told her Oliver cheated on me. She never once put him down or said a negative thing about him, but she was angry, hurt, and upset. Not at him, but at the way he treated me. She was there when Matthew told me he wanted to pursue his relationship with God as a priest instead of with me. She prayed with me, she was there. She let me know I wasn’t alone. She is the reason I was as strong as I could be. She helped me stand a little taller. She picked me up, while never, ever putting anybody else down.
3. We can shop for each other, even when living in separate states.
We know our bodies. Our shape, every curve, every little bit extra, every beautiful part. And we know how our proportions differ. Her waist is much smaller than mine. My chest is larger than hers. Her hips are larger than mine, and my shoulders are broader than hers. So we shop. Together. But separately. We try on dresses, shirts, skirts. We text each other pictures. “Ralph Lauren dress, size 12. A little big on me, it’ll fit you. Do you like? Xoxo mom.” And the next time we see each other, we exchange. We sit in each other’s closets and try on our new clothes. We get rid of old clothes. We try on each other’s clothes. And we are brutally honest. “That looks fantastic” or “that might be a little tight, even with spanx”. But it’s all from a place of love.
4. We can road trip together, and never get tired of it.
We may get tired of the actual road trip, but of each other, never. We drive to and from North Carolina to throw a wedding shower for my cousin’s fiancé. We drove to and from DC year after year to collect my stuff from college to store it at home in Florida for the summer. She listens to talk radio, I like music. She likes to stop at Hardee’s, I like Arby’s or Chick-Fil-A. She drives slower and gets nervous when I drive faster. But we talk, laugh, about men, my friends, her friends, our family, my future. All of it. Nothing is off limits.
5. We can have a girls weekend in.
We can sit around in pajamas, watching House of Cards. We can go to the grocery store, just to get junk food for our Netflix binge watching. We can drink tea and share a blanket on the couch. We can read gossip magazines, while passing a bag of frozen dark chocolate m&ms to each other. We can make eggless cookie dough and it it for dinner and extra buttery popcorn for dessert. We can be “outdoorsy” and go shopping the next day. She goes to Talbots while I go to JCrew. We buy mother-daughter dresses at Ralph Lauren and mother-daughter purses at Coach. We can go to dinner at a nice sit down restaurant or we can order Indian and eat with our hands and naan.
I am in no rush to have children of my own, but when I do I can only hope I have a daughter who can grow into a friend. I hope I can foster the same kind of relationship my mother did with me. And I sincerely hope, that one day, when I look in the mirror, I see somebody like my mother.