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  • Writer's pictureHarley Preston

A true superwoman.

Many people say they have the best mom, but in my case, it is actually true.

What I find beautiful about my relationship with my mother is that it has evolved and continues to change and grow. Trust me when I say, it hasn’t always been rainbows and butterflies - as I’m sure she would agree.

Growing up, I wasn’t the easiest of children. When I say I tested my mom’s patience, oh boy did I test them - especially my teenage years! Those were tough, emphasis on tough - now, put another emphasis on the emphasis of being tough. But to truly appreciate the relationship I’ve come to have with my mom, you need to understand the beginning.

My parents divorced when I was really young. I’m not sure I remember my exact age when this happened, but growing up having two separate homes for each parent was all I knew. For most kids, divorce is difficult, but I don’t remember struggling with it as much. My mom made sure that there was not a damn thing missing and, if anything, she worked harder at being a parent. There wasn’t a single parent-teacher conference, soccer game, or high school play that my mom wasn’t there for. On top of the multitude of jobs she had, she somehow managed to find the time to volunteer herself constantly - from helping out with accelerated reader and chaperoning field trips, to making homemade Halloween costumes, and even substitute teaching (although the substituting drove me crazy because all the kids in class would always end up having a crush on her). All the while, I’d come home and she would have dinner prepared, all cooked and proportioned to be healthy and nutritious.

I’m convinced my mom has managed to figure out a way to manipulate time and space to accommodate for everything she is able to accomplish in a single day.

A true superwoman.

Please don’t get me wrong: all this sounds quite cookie-cutter, but calling it so would cheapen my mom’s parenting because she’s so much more than that. Not only did she give me experiences in my childhood that seem quite perfect and normal to most, she also provided novelty. I’ll never forget this one particular day in my second grade class with Mrs. Johnson. I heard the Gardner School secretary call my name on the intercom for an early dismissal - an occasional surprise my mom would treat us to: but this one was special.

I remember it was a warm day - possibly May or June - just before school was going to be let out for the summer break. My mom picked me up on her Harley Davidson Heritage Softail - a badass motorcycle that was essentially double the size of her. I’ll never forget her revving the engine outside my 2nd grade classroom, and as I jumped on the back of the bike (always with a helmet of course), my entire class rushed outside through the side door. Despite Mrs. Johnson’s efforts at keeping the kids at bay, they cheered my farewell as we rode off into the distance. How many kids can say their mom has done something like this? In that moment, my mom made me feel like the coolest kid in the whole town. With a grin ear-to-ear, that moment etched in my memory as one of the best, most badass memories of being her kid.

My mom came from a family with limited resources and opportunities: a family rooted in heritage, and a particular view of the world and how things should be. In many ways, my mom was traditional, but also unconventional in others - dare I say the best of both worlds. She understood the foundation a child needed to feel supported, but also had a fearlessness nature, a sense of creativity when it came to being a parent, and sometimes a necessary level of stubborness. Yes, she would make my sister and I do those awful summer programs with those wretched workbooks, and no matter how much we would whine or complain, those assignments were going to get done. When we would complete assignments, we would receive tokens that she made; printed little pieces of paper that - from what I remember - even went as far as having a logo on them. These tokens determined how much time we were allowed to play video games or be on the internet in the dead of summer. My sister and I would then collect as many tokens as we could, often times trading them between each other if one of us did or had something the other wanted. She, in essence, made summer homework a game and a lesson in doing the hard stuff first.

But what inspires me the most and makes me the proudest of being my mother’s son is her resilience and courage: she is likely the strongest and bravest person I know, although she would be the first to deny it. Our journey has not been short of heartbreak or tragedy along the way, and regardless of moments in our lives where we didn’t particularly like each other or agree, she never stopped loving me and she never gave me the option not to love her. Things have happened to us where a lesser person would crumble, but my mom chose to rise in those occasions. She also supported the journey of two children who have never fit into heterosexual or binary identity standards. My sister and I have always been “not-normal” to most people, but my mother never loved us for who we could be or should be - she loved us for who we are. In a world where identity and sexuality is hyper-policed, her pride in us has led me to live my life with that same fearlessness she has always embodied.

Life is not easy, family is not easy. Parent/child relationships change, evolve. My life and experience with my mother is not void of this, but our life’s journey will always be intertwined. There will continue to be ups, and there will be downs. I now see that I should be grateful for the bad just as much as I am grateful for the good because I have the privilege of waking up everyday and actively choosing to live my truth all because she loved and continues to love me.

Dear Mom,

Thank you for making me a person, and giving me a childhood and a mother, to be proud of.

Love you more than chicken, xo.

Your baby


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