When I decided to move to Los Angeles from New York to pursue a career in television, my mom supported me wholeheartedly. I didn’t know until years later that she spent many nights behind closed doors crying that her daughter was moving so far away.
My mom wanted me to be truly happy and to pursue my dreams, but that meant no more meet-ups in New York City for dinner, no more picking me up from the train in New Jersey with a giant load of laundry to take home, and no more having me at every holiday and family gathering. It was hard.
We didn’t know it then, but moving was possibly the best thing that ever happened to our relationship.
This new distance meant that the time we did get to spend together had to be cherished. Every visit became a special occasion; now I have a bank of amazing memories from our mother-daughter weekends together. When she comes out to California to visit, we’re allowed time alone — without needing to share it with my dad, or my sister, or anyone else. That most likely would not have happened if I’d stayed in New York.
We’ve hiked in Palm Springs, biked in Ojai, drank lots of wine in Santa Barbara, celebrated my 30th birthday at a spa in Arizona, and laughed a lot. Leaving our everyday lives behind to experience new places together has created so many opportunities for so many new conversations. About life. About love.
There have also been weeks that I spend with my mom as my “roommate” when she visits LA.
Those close quarters would drive some people insane, but not us.
We’ve cooked dinners together, organized my closets together, cleaned my kitchen together… (actually, to be honest, she did the last two on her own while I “supervised.”) My mom is now my best friend, and even though there always comes the time when she must leave, we fight back tears and figure out the next time we’ll be together.
She’s the first person I call when I get into my car to go to work, and often, the first when I get back home at the end of the day. And thanks to technology, we can use FaceTime if she needs an opinion on her outfit or if I want to show her my new haircut. Sometimes, she’ll send me old school snail mail — cards or articles that made her think of me — so we can stay connected.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to afford flights back and forth. For that — and for the relationship that I have with my mother — I know I’m so lucky and I’m so thankful. Distance is hard, but withstanding it is a testament to powerful relationships.
As I write this, my mom is in the other room. She’s staying with me as I go through a break-up. To know that when I need her most, she’ll be there, is everything. I can feel her unconditional love always. I can go off on my own, take risks, and continue to live across the country because I know I’m never alone.