Living Room Ideas Cream And Gold

“Ammi, I’ve been seeing someone.”

Her eyes darted to mine. “Okay.”

I was in the family van with my mom, her profile backlit by an overcast sky as she drove, and we’d never had this conversation before.

For a long time, she was the only driver in our family, so we spent a lot of time together in the car — our first was a used maroon Ford Tempo that cost $500 — as she drove me to dance class and band rehearsal and all iterations of school, from elementary to university. Most of our chats consisted of confirming when she needed to come get me. Even now, with two degrees under my belt, she still picked me up from bar shows and, as was the case that afternoon, friends’ apartments. She insisted that money for taxis had better uses.

I had recently entered my first serious relationship at 21, a fact that becomes hilarious when I recall a preteen me, begging my parents to lower the age of permissible dating from 15 to 14. Back then, I had no prospects beyond imaginary trysts with boy-band crooners and scrawny actors with sun-kissed mushroom cuts and cherry lips. Still, I’d sit at the foot of my parents’ bed, pushing them to pull back a year. They gave in, amused, presumably assuming they wouldn’t have to worry about boyfriends at either age. They were correct.

“Who is he?” she asked.

I told her his name, what he did for a living, that we had been introduced through mutual friends. And then, bracing, I told her he was white.

This was the moment, I had decided. She’d shout and threaten disownment. She’d resolve to send me back to Sri Lanka for a suitable suitor. She’d throw a palm to her forehead and dramatically blame this on bad karma from a past life. Most of all, she’d be disappointed in me. This would be a moment where my relationship with my mom would be forever altered.

But it wasn’t. Ammi spoke tentatively, yet was undeniably cool: “As long as you think he is good for you, then that’s okay.”

I was relieved. And surprised. The cynic in me would say she was just happy I was finally with someone. After all, she was already married by the time she reached my age. But I know that wasn’t true; not once has my mother pressured me to settle down. When my aunts ask about my marital status, she nonchalantly defends me or jokingly questions why they’d wish me the fate of a hardworking wife. She has always been on my team.

And so came the realization that, as I anticipated her disappointment or outrage, maybe I should have given her more credit. Moments like these were not what I expected. Moments like these proved how little I knew my mother.

It was disorienting to realize I had reached adulthood without a firm grasp on who she was. Here was the person with whom I had spent the most time throughout the two decades of my life so far. She had made me: my skin, my bones, my blood. She was coursing through me — how could I not know her?

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