Separate, Not Separate
We stayed up all night. Not uncommon for either of us, but uncommon to do it together these days. Now, my daughter is an adult, and our lives are separate in many ways. Not that I begrudge her independence, but doesn’t the universe or fate or whoever know that we are not separate? She is part of me. My sixth sense reads her thoughts, her feelings, her experiences even when she is miles away physically. When my children were young, I told them that I have special powers. Because I’m a mother, I do.
That night, my daughter and I scoured the Betsey Johnson website then Saks Off Fifth then Ali Express. I think Ali Express might be China’s alternate Amazon, but I really don’t know. I do know they have styles and prices not seen in the U.S. My daughter says, “Total sweat shop.” This is our adult version of playing Barbie dolls.
We order four dresses and a sweater. We linger on the Asos website over black satin, lace-up, ankle boots. I know I’ll order them, too, before the night is over. I tell her, “I bought us a pale grey, crushed velvet bomber jacket. Because of the color, it looks metallic, like it can work with the whole metallic trend. You can wear it, too.”
“Cool,” she says. “Mom, I saw Katy Perry shoes I think you’d like. And they’re on sale, plus I get my employee discount, another 25% off.” She hugs me.
I don’t want the night to end. Twenty-one years old, still sitting on my lap allowing me to be silly. Both of us playing, sharing something we both love. In this cocoon, at this moment, only the two of us, I growing older, and she growing more like me every second. A snippet of my aura moves within hers. Hard to see where I end and she begins now. She’s an extension of me, my baby, my daughter, the sister I never had.
Like me, she was never a sleeper. Those nights twenty years ago when she still wore feet pajamas, she’d stretch out on top of me as I lay on the couch. Usually, she’d fall asleep on me. I’d quietly get my husband’s attention and whisper, “Can you grab her so I can get up?” As gentle as he was, she’d awaken. Grasp my clothes, grip my arms. She wasn’t going anywhere. I hope she never does. From teen years on, I jokingly have been reminding her that I paid the doctor a lot of money to separate us. She always laughs when I say that. Still, she comes to me and hangs her arms around my neck and says, “I want a hug.” Now, we are the same height.
She’s a grown-up, and I feel blessed that when she is home, she won’t sit in any of the other seats in the TV room. She chooses, still, to sit in the chair I’m in, on top of me. Annoyed when she slides off. Impatient that the varicose veins in my thigh hurt under her slight 113 pounds.
Other than my veins and her height, not much has changed. When she comes to where I’m sitting. I put my book down. I give up on the movie I was watching. She crawls onto my lap and hugs my neck, buries her head beneath my chin. Our usual, mother-daughter tempestuousness disappears. In that moment, she is not a young adult. She is not a career woman. She is not a fashion designer. I am not older. I’m her mother again, still.
Her phone buzzes, but she doesn’t take the message. I love that.
Maureen Mancini Amaturo is still high from her 30-year fashion and beauty writing career, and now writes “Dressing On The Side,” a fashion column she created for a local bi-weekly newspaper. Also, she founded and leads Sound Shore Writers Group, is Program Coordinator for Manhattanville College MFA Creative Writing program (where she earned her Creative Writing MFA) producing literary arts events, teaches creative writing in local arts centers, designs jewelry, cooks, cleans (sometimes), is a mother and a wife. Maureen has had poetry, articles, celebrity interviews, and two beauty how-to books published. She is working on novel, a romantic comedy.