It was the evening before my mother’s surgery and I had just got home from a hard day of volleyball, school and homework. Entering into my house I first spotted the lime green walls popping out at my eyes with its clean white border assets. Then on the largest wall in the room, on the left is my favorite painting in the whole home. Placed delicately in a white, 8x11 picture frame is an African-American mother and daughter. They are sitting on a oak hardwood living room floor. The child sits in a pure white leotard in contrast to her mother’s much darker and rich burgundy v-neck leotard. Neither of them are wearing dance tights. They even have one incurably small fragment of their hair in the same spot that is short. It curls over just enough on the mother to touch her forehead. My mother was sitting underneath it on the largest of our 3-piece chocolate furniture set. With her black hair pulled back slickly into a ponytail, and a black tracksuit on she called me over.
“Hey, how was your day?”
“Pretty tiring but I’ll be alright. ” I replied. Then my eyes rolled their way up to the painting above her head and I smiled.
Whenever I see it, I instantly think of myself and my mom. As if I was looking straight into a puddle and saw my reflection. It reminds me of us because the two in the photo provides an instant story to your eyes. Appealing at your senses, showing you to have integrity, to be strong and providing a much deeper connection into their relationship than what small words and sentences could provide. Its description is deep but a picture is worth more than a thousand words. In my case, this picture to me was worth more than just words but it truly gave me the sense of what a relationship should be about. I sat down and listened to my mom talk about her day. Yet, running hastily in my thoughts were questions like
“What key components attribute to a healthy relationship and strong bond?”
I answered that question with the simple thought of how having similarities and common interests lead to connections. The vitality of it though it how it’s delivered--communication. Whether it’s father to son, boyfriend to girlfriend or mother to daughter. Filling in the blank scenario, I used my mom and I. Her eyelids has the same almond-hooded shaped as mine, with dark brown eyes to compliment the fold of brown skin above the socket line. We even smile with the curves of our lips making a similar up parabola shape. With her round face she would draw a smile with her pearly whites and then give me a large warm hug.
Our relationship is like a key and lock. Our bond is close enough some would consider not only do we look like twins, with our similar eye and lip features, but we act like them too. She’s my best friend, finishing my sentences and knowing spectacle of a detail about myself. Supposedly because I am, nonetheless her daughter but our relationship was more than an overbearing mama bear and chubby cub. Hard situations can make or break people, I was once told. So when I was told on our dark-brown sofa that starry evening about her diagnosis with stage zero cancer, I was terrified. My body felt paralyzed for seconds. Minutes flew by and she still was talking, using descriptive words and providing facts but my mind had muted her tongue. It was like being in front of a television with open ears yet there was no sound. Images appear on the screen and my eyes are open just reading the subtitles. My tear ducts filled with buckets of salty tears ready to stream down my fat cheeks. The first tear was for strength. Such as the woman in the picture, I knew my mother was strong. Her bare feet also touched the ground such as the painting, clenching on to the dark green berber carpet. She couldn’t bear to tell me that no more than I could hear it. My finger lingered over her hair. Touching the smallest fragment that curved over onto her forehead, homogeneously to the picture above the crown of our heads.
I knew she was strong but when she went into surgery a first time I was panicking. Praying constantly to God, I was reassured that she would be fine and she was. Yet not all of this black heavy mass was removed so she chose to have breast reconstruction. I know in my heart that mom is strong like the barefoot woman in the painting on my vivid green living room wall. While, this memory taught me that what you attribute to a relationship should be more than just a title and occasional conversations. Instead, It should have a sensational euphoria no matter what the situation is, but who it’s connected with. This moment happened like lightning struck the evening sky just as I looked up at it. Rather it would be a sight that I would see into the sky even after it was gone.