Before she met up with us, Ma called to ask if she could spend the night--at my apartment. Weird, but how could I say no? She said she had to be in town early the next day anyway so it made perfect sense that she would stay the night instead of driving home just to drive right back up. Besides, it would be pretty rude and un-daughter-like to dismiss the idea. I was afraid of her judgement, though; would she think my home was too cluttered or too dirty or filled with all the wrong stuff? Would she dig through our fridge and our pantry and then criticize our eating habits? Would the guest bed be too hard or would the sheets smell funny or would the cat bother her at night?
That night, after dinner (and 20 ounces of Sangria), Ma asked me to drive back to the apartment. My stomach ached with butterflies the whole way there.
At the apartment, I typed up some homework and my fiance played some video games and Ma read before she announced that she was ready for bed. I made the guest room as comfortable as possible, bringing her extra pillows and my fiance's phone charger (because she forgot her own) and clean matching towels for a shower in the morning. She was both gracious and grateful; I wanted to do more for her but she insisted she was fine.
In the morning, she whispered "bye" to me and told me to look on my fridge for a hidden message. When I got up an hour later to take the puppy out, I remembered there was a message waiting for me in the kitchen. I searched the outside of the refrigerator for a post-it note or a piece of paper but there were only magnets. Then I saw it, in the bottom left-hand corner of the freezer door, some of the magnetic poetry arranged as "Hugs and kisses. You are my heart".
I guess she didn't judge me after all.