I loved her. That was the first thing I knew. It was something I grew up knowing. She was almost inevitable, a part of my life that would never go away. I loved how she smelled when she came home from work. The sweet smell of her perfume mixed with the baking dough and powdered sugar she used every day at the bakery.
I loved her. I loved the way she hugged me when I was little. I was only tall enough to reach her waist but I squeezed her tight and never wanted to let go. She would lift me on her hip and kiss my cheek. I loved how she smiled when she was happy. Her teeth gleamed against her tan skin and her blue eyes sparkled. They were beautiful. I loved how every day I woke up at 2 a.m. to the sound of her getting ready for work. I would tiptoe into the bathroom and watch her apply her make-up and curl her lashes without even blinking. I thought she was too pretty for make-up. I loved the way she made me feel so confident. I loved the way she cared for all of us kids.
I loved the way she said she loved me and I loved the way I could confide in her. I loved the way she laughed, at first like a teenager’s giggle and then, if something were really funny, a full-blown laugh that consumed my mind and made me happy. I loved the way she would talk softly, convincing the world that I was the most important thing to her. I loved how she always won me over, even when I didn’t want to be. Knowing I loved her was the first thing I knew.
I love the way she’s going to cry when I get married. Admitting it’s time for me to go, and yet still holding my hand all the way. I love the way she’s going to smile when I come visit her, saying, “Isn’t this a nice surprise.” I love the way she’s going to smile, cry and laugh all at the same time when she holds her first grandchild. I love the way she’ll insist that she’s the only one who can baby-sit her grandchildren. I love how she’s going to spoil my children and laugh and laugh. I love the way she’ll look back on what we used to do and how many memories are in “this old house” where I grew up.
I love the way she’s going to hug me when I’m all grown up. I’ll be taller than her and this time will be able to throw my arms around her neck. I’ll miss the way she used to carry me and say my name when I was a baby, but I’ll always love the fact that she’s going to be there. A part of my life that is inevitable. A part of my life that I love. My mom.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.