In this world, my mother never supplanted my adolescence with her own, and actually made the effort to guide me through my search for a place in the world. She was excited by the things I was doing, not necessarily because she understood them, but because she found my interest intoxicating. I got to the point where I actually voiced a wish the she wasn’t quite so enthusiastic about my events, my performances, my studies (even though both of us secretly knew I really did appreciate it.) She was never self-concerned or self-absorbed, and she never thought to let me raise myself.
In this world, I can see myself preparing to go to college, with both my mom and dad asking the right questions, giving sound advice, and doing their best to act as parents as I made my transition into adulthood. I shared with them a dream I had of becoming a scholar, and they never once questioned why I wasn’t trying to take up something more practical like… finance. They encouraged me to find the school that was right for me, and then and only then would we worry about how to cover the costs. And they assured me that the costs would be covered somehow. Period.
The best thing though, is that they came with me to visit schools, trading weekends to drive with me all
through New England, or to fly to promising schools in New York, Louisiana, Indiana, or California. At every interview, I knew that one of them was there outside and I knew that no matter whether I shined or fell on my face, I would come out to find someone there who actually cared how it went. We would joke about some of my biggest fuck-ups, and maybe even take a mock-snobbish "I’m too good for this place anyway" attitude to get us through.
At some point I sat at a dinner (one of many) with each of them and became aware that they weren’t touching their food, but instead were just sitting there, looking at me with such pride in their eyes that I thought they might burst. Of course, being seventeen, I got embarrassed and asked them each to stop.
Yeah, just a fantasy...
It’s sad, though, just how much all of this is still with me.