My mother is my best friend and my worst enemy. She’s like the CIA—she knows exactly where I am at every moment, even when she’s 500 miles away. God forbid she can’t find me—she hires an entire search team to go after me. By “team” I mean my best friend who she calls to stalk me on social media. Oh don’t worry, Jackie, she’s alive. She liked a photo 5 minutes ago on Instagram.
During high school, my mother didn’t always trust those around me. While visiting extended family in Argentina, my mother refused to let me go out to teen clubs with my cousin and friends, even in large groups. She never allowed me to take a taxi, subway or bus alone. Of course, she let my older brother roam Buenos Aires by himself.
Once, she even forced my brother to accompany me in a taxi to my friend’s house. Just this past summer, she made my grandmother’s housekeeper abandon her household duties to accompany me 17 blocks in a taxi ride to my best friend’s house. Even now, at 20 years-old, she still doesn’t allow me to ride public transportation alone.
In college, my mom and I have a routine: If I don’t text her goodnight, she assumes I was abducted by aliens at McDonald’s on a Friday night. When this happens, I usually wake up at 8 a.m. to my phone’s uncontrollable vibrations and eight missed call notifications. Then, I call her back and answer her typical 20 questions.
Did you eat breakfast? You just coughed, do you have a fever? Have you been taking Emergen-C every morning? How about your biotin? What time have you been going to sleep? You need to start going to sleep earlier, Sharon.
After 20 minutes of convincing her that it’s probably just allergies, she then calls me every hour for two days straight to make sure I schedule a doctor’s appointment.
My mother raised me to be a woman aware of her surroundings, selective in who she chooses as friends and who she chooses to date. So when she insists on meeting the newest guy in my life, I know she has a good reason for trying to protect me.
After I broke up with my ex-boyfriend, I questioned my life’s purpose altogether. I’ll always remember my mother hugging me as I sat on her toilet explaining how lost I felt, so much that I once thought about self-harm. She cried hysterically and said, “Please don’t ever leave me. I can’t live without you.” Now, when she messages me every hour to ask about the guy in my life, I know she only wants to make sure I don’t ever question my life’s purpose again.
I have one semester left before I graduate and decide where to build my future nest, but wherever I go, I will let my mother know where I am at all times. I now find myself paranoid about everything. I drink Emergen-C every morning, I never allow anyone to bring alcohol or weed into my car and wherever I go, I always remember to bring my phone charger.
Though sometimes her overprotective tendencies annoy me, I know my mother is the guardian angel of my well-being and most importantly, my heart.
A few weeks ago, I didn’t take my Emergen-C, and sure enough, I caught a cold. As for the various boys in my life, my mother was right about all of them. My mother sees them for what they are: All too clingy, selfish and stupid.
Thank you, Mom, for being overprotective. I’m here today because I constantly live with your voice in my head that says, “take care of yourself.” You taught me how to take care of myself so that one day, I can take care of you.
So get ready for the phone calls and 20 questions: Did you remember to take your medication? Oh, Mami, that is a terrible cough we should go get that checked immediately. Did you call the doctor to schedule an appointment? Have you been sleeping? Have you been taking your vitamin-C? 20 years from now, I might be a mother, but that doesn’t mean I won’t need mine.