"Writing." I mutter with that monotone teenage tone of annoyance that only 15 year olds can perfect.
"Writing about what?"
I wish she would just go away and leave me be.
"You look sad. What's on your mind? Want to talk about it?" Mom gently continues. She sits tentatively on the edge of my bed, ready to leave if I send her off, hoping I won't.
"Not really," I sigh.
Simon and Garfunkel plays softly in the background and frantically I scribble my teenage angst into a journal. Wanting to be me, not wanting to conform, not wanting to not-conform for the sake of non-conformity. Wanting to be free of social pressures of high school, the work of trying to fit in, to look cool, to say the "right" things:
I just want to be me and sing and play guitar and wear what I want to wear and know who I am and love that. And I want others to love that, too. I want to weave colored thread into my hair and put patches on my jeans and part my hair down the middle. I want to grow sunflowers, plant them from seed right outside my window, their cheerful heads greeting me each morning. I long to breathe in the heady perfume of summer rains, of wet dewy nights with damp covers and sticky legs. To wrestle free of insecurity, of drama, of second-guessing and just. be. me. I want someone to really know me, to cherish me, to hold me, to treasure me...
I pause. I can't tell Mom all of this. She'll never understand me in a thousand years.
"Mom, do you feel like you know who you are? I mean, like, who you really are?"
"Oh Erin, you remind me so much of myself when I was your age. So full of questions and ponderings, the sadness in your eyes and tenderness in your heart. I love the way you write about what matters to you, the way to draw and listen to music and think about the things that matter in life. You're so special, there aren't many people like you in the world. You're so uniquely touched by God and stirred by nature. I love your heart and the way your mind works. I love the way you think deeply about song lyrics and their hidden meanings, read Walt Whitman and scribble thoughts in a journal. I just wish I could make you less sad."
I take all of this in, stunned by the ways mom truly knows me, the things she sees that I thought I kept hidden from the world. What is it about Moms that makes them able to see into their children's hearts like that?
Maybe I'm not so alone afterall. Maybe I am loved. Really loved. Treasured. Maybe somebody, just somebody really does pay attention. I am comforted by this moment between mother and daughter but can't say how much this has all meant to me...my teenage coolness just won't allow for it.
"I'm not sad. Mom. I just get a little sick of it all sometimes. But I feel better now. Wanna watch a movie with me?"
We pop in Amadeus, make microwave popcorn and eat it by the handful, dropping greasy kernels on covers and chasing away the loneliness together with unspoken souls uniting, shared DNA joining mother and daughter in melancholy harmony for all eternity.