As one of the most important components of the solar system – the moon controls many parts of the universe. It has different planets pass in front of it, it guides in sailors when they are lost at sea, it brings in the tide and releases it, and it takes on different forms as the days of the month pass by.
Sometimes, when I’m walking through dark city streets with flickering lamp posts, and I feel the ache of longing for my sweet Carolina roots – I look up to the moon and somehow, in some magical, mystical way, I feel connected to the one person who can always turn anything around.
Yesterday, my mom turned 50 years old, and we’ve been celebrating her half-century anniversary since I returned from New York. On Sunday, her friends from all over, from all different points in her life – traveled to our humble home in North Carolina to honor the woman who has meant so much to them. The drinks and the laughter were plenty and my mother, with her encouraging sincerity and loving aura – glowed from each corner of the room. And of course, because she doesn’t like to be the one on display or in the spotlight (unlike her daughter), her cheeks and her chest were red when the attention or the toasts turned to her.
Through it all, it only confirmed what I feel towards my mother: she’s not only a woman I admire, deeply respect, and enjoy the company of – but she’s my very best friend. While my dad was sick, when I was going through the ups and the downs with each Mr. – she was always there telling me all is well, and that I can never, under any circumstance, screw up what’s meant to be. She also has always encouraged me to make my own choices, be my own support system (yet know when to ask for help), and trust in the power I have within myself to make my dreams a reality. Not to mention, she’s the queen of the astrological universe and lets me know when Mars is in retrograde, and which signs to stray away from. God bless her, and though sometimes I hate to admit it, the planets can be quite accurate in their predictions.
The older I get, the more experiences I go through, the more lessons I learn, the more grown-up decisions I make, and the more men I weed through – I realize how much I depend on my mom. She is there to field my phone calls, give me all sorts of advice - from finances and futures to sex and sewing – she always knows just what to say and how to respond. We’ve always had such an honest, open, non-judgmental, and empowering relationship and I’ve never felt unsure or unsteady sharing just about everything (and sometimes more than she’d like me to) with her.
Yesterday, after we spend an afternoon shopping – an frequent tradition we withheld before I packed my bags for Manhattan – we were driving back home to prepare for our evening out for her actual birthday, and she said something that struck me in a profound way. We were talking about the different elements of my life in the city, how her priorities and mindset has morphed since I’ve moved, and how we’re both adjusting, and she said, “You know, Linds, I was just like you in my twenties, it is just now, my body is older. You don’t ever really lose that fire – if you’re lucky, that is.”
I laughed along and glanced over at my mom and saw all of her 50-year-old beauty: highlighted hair to hide the gray, anti-aging creme that’s eliminated some of her mini-wrinkles, the mineral makeup she swears makes her look younger, and the necklace that I was so excited to buy for her. And in her face, in her mannerisms, and in her charm - I saw myself…25 years down the road.
Not too long ago, my mom was in my same position - climbing up the ladder in her career, painting the town red with her girlfriends, and wondering where her life would go. She was scoping out the dating scene, demanding her own independence, and making (and effectively breaking) rules in romance and in reasoning. She was wearing the same sorts of clothes I sport and anyone who knew her when she was my age always remarks: “Wow, it is like seeing you years ago! She looks just like you!” When she so willingly shares these words of wisdom and reassures me in my freak outs and crying fits that everything will work out – she’s not just being a consoling mother and encouraging BFF – but she’s speaking from experience.
No matter how old we get, where we live, who we marry, how many children we have, how our hips spread, our boobs sag, our addresses spread further away from one another, or how our girl’s nights out dishing about dating turn into discussing the actual dishes – in our hearts, we’re those 20-somethings searching for ourselves. And underneath the Oil of Olay, the makeup under our eyes, and the blond disguising our gray strands – we’re those same young women remembering the brilliance of our youth, the endless spirits we had that diligently believed nothing was impossible.
With her grace and her integrity, she helps to guide me in from the storms, with her light that she shines down as my biggest fan in all that I do, and with the support she has to stand behind in constant guidance allowing me to steal the spotlight – is more than just the woman who gave me life. She’s more than a Northern star to direct my path and she is warmer than the sunshine who steals the thunder from the blue skies.
She is my moon – my pillar of brilliance and energy. She is who I resemble now and who I will see in myself as I look through the mirrors in my own home decades to come. But no matter what changes or when she decides to dance among the stars she follows so intently - her ageless beauty and fruitful wisdom, will stay with me wherever I go, as long as I raise my head to meet the midnight sky.