I haven’t seen Failure to Launch, but I’m going to hazard a guess about how the film portrays Matthew McConaughey, whose character is thirtysomething and still living with his parents. He’s probably unambitious, career-wise and otherwise. He’s probably not interested in carrying on a long-term relationship, or taking care of anything that requires caretaking. He probably plays a lot of video games—am I on the right track?
The fact is, there’s a lot of cultural baggage that comes with moving back in with your parents. (That movie I was just talking about? Look at its title: failure is the first word. Failure!) So when I moved back in with my mom two months ago, I was trying to resist ascribing the adjective to my own situation. I’ve successfully held a full-time job and become financially independent, but I still needed a temporary safety net after moving cross-country. So I stepped back through the doors of my old house, and tried not to wince while doing it.
But you know what? Even though I can’t wait till I get my own place in the city, it’s been really nice here. And I’m not ashamed to admit that.
My mom buys fresh flowers every week to brighten up our white kitchen table. She has coached me through job-search woes and general transition-related malaise, and then celebrated my recent job-search victory as if it were her own. She has oh-so-graciously let Koko into her home, despite a lifelong fear of cats. When she sensed that I couldn’t afford to go out during my spell of unemployment, she treated me to a day out in the city so I could feast on some iconic Chicago foods: Ann Sather cinnamon rolls, Polish sausages, slices of fruit pie from Hoosier Mama, and pierogi and cabbage soup in the Ukranian Village. At home, she makes a roast chicken every week for us to feast on. And she tells everyone she knows how excited she is that I’m here.
So: thank you, Mom, for all that you do, and for doing it so graciously—and with genuine happiness. You always have. I thought I’d share a few photographs here, in honor of Mother’s Day—and because around these parts, every day has been Mother’s Day. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Here’s my mother as a young Ohioan-slash-Californian, probably about my age, but with much more Vogue-worthy good looks.
Oh, and here she is traveling the entire world. No big deal.
And bringing up baby (that’s me!).
Then came my little brother, Jamie. He was not as good at napping as I was, but his chubby cheeks and ridiculous hair made up for it.
I love you so much, Mom! Happy Mother’s Day.
And to all of you readers who have mothers, or who are mothers, or who know mothers: I hope you share in the celebration, too.