She and I were never the best of friends while I was growing up. We didn’t go get our nails done together. We didn’t go shopping for clothes (she and I both knew Dad would spend more money on me if he took me). We borrowed each other’s jewelry, but if I borrowed her shoes, I stretched them out. She embarrassed me in middle school by getting on to me for using the word “butt” in Sunday School, even if I was being ugly, it was so not cool. I’d go to her first when I knew I’d be in trouble for something because I knew she would soften the blow when telling Dad.
She wasn’t my best friend, she was my mom.
Because here’s the thing I’ve started to understand…
When I was a teenager, dealing with all of the nonsense and temptations and drama that life throws at a young girl, I didn’t need another best friend. I needed someone wiser than I was. I needed someone who had walked the road, and climbed the mountains, and trudged through the valleys, and come out on the other side. I needed someone who had survived the dangerous teenage years.
I needed a mom.
I needed my mom.
And that’s what she was for me.
When I was wallowing in self pity after a bad break up, she’d lovingly tell me a story about a boy she liked in such and such grade and how now, looking back, she is so so so thankful that she didn’t end up with that certain boy.
When I would struggle with confidence, she’d be there to tell me about the things I was wonderful at, and how I didn’t need to compare myself to others. She had been there and she wished she would have known that it was okay to be good at different things than someone else.
She would admit her failures to me and tell me how she has learned from them and how she wanted me to learn from her mistakes as well.
She was everything a mother needed to be.
And now I’m older.
My mother and I have gone to get our hair done together. We’ve even had our nails done at the same time. We have gone shopping together too (even though Dad still pays).
And now I’m a mom and I’ve realized something else…
I still don’t need a best friend.
I still need my mom.
I need someone who has fought the strong willed child, who has moved away from family, who has served in a church, who has had the sleepless nights, who has dealt with trying to potty train the strong will child. I need someone who has shown love every day of her life to children who I know drove her completely insane most, if not all, days we lived under her roof. I need those words of wisdom. I need those stories of truth.
I need my mom.
And that’s why I still call her.
Because a day will come when I will pick up the phone to call my mom, either to tell her a funny story or to seek out her wisdom, and she’ll no longer be there to give it to me, and I want to soak up as much from her as I possibly can while I can.