Mother Knows Best
“It’s your freshman year and you’re gonna be here for the…” (it’s okay you can go ahead and finish the lyrics—we all know you just channeled your inner T-swift). Take out “freshman,” add “senior” and fast-forward to the part where she sings about her best friend Abigail. You know, the one who gave everything she had to a boy who changed his mind? Yeah, that was me.
The summer before your last year in college is meant to be the most enjoyable time of college, but mine was far from it. I’ll spare you the details, but that summer put me on a plane to visit a boyfriend interning in Nashville. Little did I know that as soon as school started I’d be the last thing I expected: heartbroken.
Like any other hormonal twenty-something, I cried. A lot. I called my mom more in four months than I had my entire college career (which I’m ashamed to admit). My roommates can confirm that I went through the stages of grief about seven times… After pity flowers, cards that say “boys suck” and a multitude of honest conversations I knew something had to give.
It was over the next few months that I completely invested my energy into my job and schoolwork. You must know this isn’t just any job. Here’s a clue: many have asked me why am I always listening to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “You are My Sunshine” over and over again on Spotify. The answer: to get a screaming child with many needs to sleep. For some reason those are the only two songs that do it for her. My work schedule was all over the place, the majority of hours being from 5 pm to 5 am. Most people (including professors) call it crazy, but to me this was the way I discovered I was truly capable of loving unconditionally and the call to become a nurse after graduation became clear to me.
Fast forward to September and my role of pupil turned parent was in full swing, each week ending in the routine phone call home to my mom. The past few weeks were simply tearful conversations and attempted jokes that made no sense, but this week in September was different. “You have to meet this guy,” my mom said. (Cue the scary movie soundtrack.) My response, “MOM. NO.” She went on to explain that she had come to know another mother in one of her church groups whose son is “my type” (she has no idea what that is, by the way). She told me that he was a second-year medical student, “cute,” the oldest of three and most importantly single. She then went on to mention that he lived 700 miles away in El Paso, Texas. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Texas geography, El Paso might as well be Mexico.
“Mom… what are you doing? This is stupid and I’m far from ready for this.”
All she left me with was, “Just think about it. No harm being friends.”
Several days passed and I finally filled my roommates in on the situation. After we discussed all of the “what ifs” and added a little liquid encouragement, I decided to just go for it. Before I knew it I was writing a message to a guy I had never met that lived over 12 hours away. Trying to be sly just to begin a conversation, I told him I was doing a project on a fairly rare medical condition (true) and was looking to get perspectives from various medical professionals (false).
Three freakin’ days passed. FORGET IT. Why the heck did I do that? (Insert monkey emoji with hands over eyes here.) So I did what I always do, I called Kendall, one of my roommates, and told her to stop everything because we needed to go to Chick-fil-A (code for forget this sh*t). We indulged in nuggets and mid-food coma he finally responded. One message turned into two and then three to one hundred…
We both ended up in our hometown for Thanksgiving and decided to meet up for lunch. We returned to our respective schools and sometime in between the talking we decided we’d try long distance.
All I’ve got to say is PLANE TICKETS ARE EXPENSIVE. Though the real point is that if there’s someone that’s willing to pick you up when you’re at your lowest point (and at the airport), then it’s worth the cost.
I’m not saying long distance is easy and that deciding to go to nursing school in El Paso after graduation is the answer for everyone. The answers you’re looking for - that happiness that others have that makes you cringe - can’t be planned. You have to completely immerse yourself in the now, forget the “what ifs” and just go for it. If there’s anything that you need to know, it’s that Taylor Swift later wrote “22” and the story eventually gets better with time.
And that mother does know best.