What the hell am I going to even say?
I possibly went the longest way to my parents’ apartment because I just wanted to avoid this conversation at all costs. Dad is going to be livid. Mom is just going to be confused. I’m just going to sit there and look at them while I give them the biggest news of their lives besides being pregnant with Willow.
Man, maybe I should’ve brought over a bottle of wine or something, loosen them up a bit. I turned the corner and saw the apartment building. This is it.
I walked up to their apartment building and rang the bell. I could vaguely hear my mom on the intercom before she let me in. This is it.
I’ve been meaning to have this conversation with my mom for weeks now. I kept avoiding it just because I didn’t know what to say when this time would come. Do I just rip the band-aid off and tell them what’s going on? Do I try to lead my way into it until they expect what’s to come? I seriously don’t know how well or horrible this is going to go, but here we are.
The door opens once I walk in front of it. My mom stands in front of the door, wondering what I was doing at their apartment this late into the night. She immediately lets me in, already asking me questions.
“Is everything alright? Whatcha doing here so late? Where’s Willow?” Mom was asking questions without taking a breath.
“Mom, I’m fine. Willow’s with… her babysitter. I didn’t want to take her out so late.” Mom looked like she was going to be sick to her stomach. For someone as tough and carefree as my mother, she sure does worry a lot about me.
“Are you okay though?” Mom insisted I wasn’t since I was here.
“Yes. I just wanted to talk to you about… something.” Fuck, I couldn’t even lead my way into it. Mom sat on the sofa, waiting for me to sit down with her. I could tell that Dad wasn’t home; he’s actually the one that answers the door when we come over and he’s usually the first to greet us. I kinda wish I was having this conversation with him just because Dad was just… not as scary as Mom.
“What’s going on?” She asked as I was sitting down on the sofa.
“I just–” Fuck. How do I word this correctly? How do I tell my mother the one thing that I think she’s wanted to hear form me since she met me? She never took her eyes off of me. Sometimes I look at her and wonder how could she be this worried about me now and not when I was younger? Don’t get me wrong, I love my Mom and I’ve let that part of my life go in the past, but sometimes I just wonder if this was the same person who was once my age, living her dream as a dancer, not being a mom. Sometimes I think if I’m really over it now that I’m a mother myself, wanting to be better and do better for my daughter, but sometimes I just feel like I truly am my mother’s daughter.
I took a deep breath. Just let it out already.
“Is Aunt Jennifer still looking for someone to take over the business?”
Mom didn’t think much of it. I could tell because she didn’t put too much thought into it.
“I think so, she’s about to retire this year and wants to have the business sold before she does it. Why?” She asked. She fucking knows.
“Just asking.” I readjusted myself on the sofa, looking at my phone once it vibrates. It’s a picture that Jamie sent of him and Willow playing together. I smiled to myself. This is why.
I put my phone back to my side and looked back up to Mom. I honestly just have to say it and let it be heard because if I don’t, I’m going to regret it. I gotta do this for Willow.
“I was thinking about taking it over.” I finally said. Mom turned her head to the side, visibly confused at what’s going on.
“You have a job though… a very tedious job, might I add.” I could tell Mom still felt strongly about the fact that I went into law instead of dance. I just felt like at the time, law was more practical, and I really did much enjoy it. I still do, but I feel like I’m not living my life the way I want to live it. I want to be able to come home and see my daughter when I have her. I want to be able to take Willow whenever I can so that Max doesn’t always have to have her. I want to be present for my daughter, watch her grow up and see the person she becomes. My job will not let me do such thing.
“I’m leaving the firm.” I admit.
“What? Are you insane, Grace? You haven’t trained in years, you don’t know how to even run a business, and there’s even more work that goes into having this business. Why do you think I didn’t take over the business when I was younger?” Mom was not having it.
“I could do all of that again. It’s a risk I’m willing to take, I–” Don’t say it, Grace. “I don’t want to be a lawyer anymore.”
“You just became one not too long ago. You haven’t even fully gotten the chance to break everything in. Grace, you are going to be wasting years of your life because you don’t want to do the hard work anymore.” Mom had this thing of always saying the things that really got to me. We were a lot alike, which meant we thought a lot alike, and I hate the fact she pretty much said what I’ve been thinking out loud the entire time since I first had this thought.
“It’s not that I don’t want to do the ‘hard work’, it’s the fact that I don’t want to live my life case after case and not be present.”
“And you think taking over a business is the way to go?” Mom was truly astonished at this conversation. Dad would’ve been understanding… possibly.
“At least I can come home at a decent time to spend time with my family, Mom.” I spat out. I knew it would hurt her, because she was hurting me in that moment. I think in the decade we’ve gotten to know each other, we know just how how far both of us are willing to take things. Maybe I took it too far this time? She doesn’t seem to be bothered by it.
“Are you and Max working things out?” Mom just knows how to get me on my nerves.
“No, we’re not.” I disgustingly answered. She totally can’t see where I’m going with this conversation and it’s so frustrating. She has to know what she’s doing.
My mom sat in her seat, visibly confused at what’s happening. She readjusts herself while she’s in her thoughts.
“I don’t understand what you mean then; doesn’t Willow live with Max?” She has to know now I’m visibly pissed; I mean, I got off the sofa and practically yelled at her for saying what she did.
“That doesn’t mean I don’t wanna be home when I have Willow, Mom! God, how the fuck can you say that?” I spat.
“Grace Renee Ashmore, you may be an adult, but remember I am still your mother.” Mom sternly stated.
Maybe I still struggle with the fact that I didn’t have her in my life when I was growing up. Maybe there is a part of me that still carries resentment because I became a mother myself and I can’t see myself just not being in Willow’s life. Maybe to an extent, I can understand why she didn’t want to be a om at a young age; in some ways I tell myself at night that I wish I wasn’t worrying about another human being.
But, I do, and I can’t stop myself from not worrying and caring about Willow because I love her too much. How did Mom not see that when I was a baby? How was she able to just pack her shit up one day and decide that she didn’t want to be in my life anymore? Maybe I never forgave her.
“Yeah, well being around for my young adult years doesn’t count considering you weren’t there for the rest of my life.” I said. Did I mean it? Not really. My life without my mother was one that I didn’t think much about. My dad made sure I was always well taken care of and always surrounded by my Uncle Mason and Grandma. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to now have a relationship with my mother, but it’s still a difficult relationship to have.
Mom looked discouraged. She got up from the sofa, and walked into the kitchen. I don’t know if she was coming back or not. Something told me this conversation wasn’t over; it was me and mom for fuck’s sake.
After a while, I got up from the sofa and went to the kitchen to apologize. It didn’t feel right to me that I came here to tell her and ask her something, yet I insulted her in the process. To my surprise, she was walking out of the kitchen when I reached it. She walked past me, and sat on the sofa with a cup of coffee in her hand. Mom.
I went to sit back down, this time in the chair across from the sofa. I figured she didn’t want to be near me after saying that, but I also knew that she wanted to say something. It’s Mollie Sue Castro, for fuck’s sake.
“If you felt that way, you should’ve said something.” In that moment, I didn’t know what she was talking about, but after a little while, I realized she meant she was talking about us.
“I didn’t want to. But I also knew that I couldn’t do it, and you didn’t deserve that. Growing up, at least.” Mom admitted. I fucking get it, and I hate that I do because it’s the same goddamn reason why I don’t live with Willow. I didn’t say anything back, I didn’t feel the need to and I don’t think she wanted me to say anything. She simply just drank her coffee until she changed the subject.
“I can’t tell you what to do, Grace, You’re an adult and if this is what you want, then it’s what you want. But, this business means a lot to Jennifer; it also means a lot to me. We would hate for you to take over and then a few months into it want to sell it because you changed your mind again.”
“I studied dance for the first two years of college. I got the damn scholarship for Julliard and was trained by only the top of professionals. I know I’m not where I could be, but I’ll get there.” That was the honest truth. Mom just sat there, listening to me for the first time that night.
“Be prepared for it to be a whole lot of work, Grace.” Mom simply said. She finished her coffee and got up from the sofa. I sat there, not knowing if things were better or not between us. Mom had a weird way of letting things go; maybe I’m just looking at a version of myself I’m not aware of in the moment.
From the kitchen, my mom yells out to me.
“Your father should be home soon, I advice you to get going before he does and we will talk about how to break this news to him at a later date.”
I got up from the sofa and grabbed my purse. I walked to the kitchen and hugged Mom. She was taken back by it, and when I let go, she let out an apologetic look.
“I’m sorry.” She said.
“I understand.” It was all I could say to her about our situation. I walked out the door to head on home.
Walking down the hallway after getting off the elevator, I felt this wave of ease, excitement, and most definitely exhaustion. I was tired after this extremely long day. Waking up to Jamie, running my errands, and having this conversation with Mom; it was something I just wanted to sleep off.
I walked into the apartment where there was only one dim light on in the living room.
“Jamie?” I called out. I expected him to be in the living room when I got home, or at least reading a book or drinking a cup of coffee; something Jamie related. I walked into Willow’s room to see if she was at least in bed for the night, and to my surprise, I found them both in her room.
Willow was out like a light, holding her favorite little plushie while she slept. And then there was Jamie, laying down on the floor with a pillow under his head. He looked peaceful when he slept. I couldn’t help but smile at him. Why does coming home to him feel absolutely amazing?
I got down on my knees and began to wake him up.
“Jamie?” I whispered as I gently shook him awake. He opened his eyes in shock and immediately saw me. He relaxed as he did so.
“Let’s go to bed.”