Just Like Her

I send the New York Times puzzles to my mother every morning. We do the Wordle and Connections. She sends back her attempts every night. We don’t chat much. Don’t have that “best-friend” mother and daughter bond. Too practical for that. I don’t call her to dish about my love life or the parties I went to over the weekend. Too stern for that. She has never bought me alcohol or taken me out of school for a day of shopping. Too strict for that. 

But we send the puzzles. 

I look forward to it actually. It might be my favorite part of the morning. Discussing our thought process, why we picked certain Wordle words, how we interpreted the day’s Connections. That’s much more like us than “chatting.” 

And I’m much more like her than I realized. 

She raised me to be independent, strong-willed. Mom doesn’t take any shit. She is the most badass woman I know. When she wants something, she goes after it. Throughout high school, Mom wanted pictures of me doing my sports to get framed, but the yearbook photographer could never get flattering ones. So, she took thousands of pictures of me and my teammates to make sure everyone had memories for our end of the year banquet. 

She encouraged my intelligence, my curiosity. Determined to ensure I amounted to more than just a pretty face. Mom’s a doctor by profession, the breadwinner of our family. That typical nuclear structure of Dad bringing home the bacon and Mom taking care of the kids had no place in our house. 

Her favorite thing to gift me was books of all shapes and sizes and subject matters. Though she jokingly regrets instilling a love of reading in me now – books are one of my more expensive hobbies – I act as Mom’s librarian. Every month (ish) without fail, she texts me from my bedroom library to discuss my latest book recommendation that she should read next. 

Above all, she taught me to be singular. To be remarkable. To know there is no one else quite like me in the world and that is a good thing. Mom showed me that clothes and shoes are not measures in which a person’s worth can be counted. The fads of the fashion world are inconsequential in the face of kind words, a sharp wit, and a good personality. 

So, while I take after my mom, truly, I am simply me.

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