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Tides (a personal essay)

Tides by Grace Keller
                       According to every single one of my family members, I become more and more like her every day. I mostly get this when I’m in a stubborn mood, filled to the brim with salt, blonde hairs falling over my freckles like shore upon sand. Exactly like her. My sense of style and my sense of independence come solely from my mother (whether I like to admit it or not). When I was little, too afraid of what might lie in the dark to flip back into mermaid dreams, I would lie in bed with her and we would flip through fashion magazines. We played a little game when we did this, flipping to the next page and seeing who could point out the outfit they liked best first- maybe this also contributed a bit to how decisive I am. When I was in middle-school, my outfits consisted mainly of her clothing- I guess part of me thought it would shape me into someone as effortlessly stylish and classic as her.  My brother and sister both adorn dark, stick-straight brown hair and brown eyes, while I’m more so the black sheep- sporting wavy blonde hair and blue eyes. According to my mother, nothing bad can ever happen to me because I’m her “blonde daughter.” I was born on August 18th, making me a Leo, while she was born on November 28th, making her a Sagittarius. Both of these happen to be fire signs, which I’ve always thought of as a possible cause for our little mother/daughter squabbles burning up into flames, igniting everything in its path as well. Not even the whole Atlantic could put out a blaze like that. As much as we try not to get caught in eachother’s riptides, most of the time we don’t even realise that we’re entering unsafe waters. I can’t think of a single thing I hate more than fighting with her- every argument sits up straight in my brain, reminding me to be a better daughter; to be a better person.

                   

                   I think the first thing I learned as a kid were her hands. Watching her as my fertile brain absorbed new signs to communicate with her, I could recall every curve, every wrinkle, every new nail polish color. When tears would flow down my cheeks and onto quilted bed-sheets, she would walk her pointer and middle fingers up my arms and over my head, and I was so ticklish that  I couldn’t help but laugh incessantly and forget all about whatever had me so upset in the first place. Though she can’t hear my cries of joy or my cries of misery, there’s still a sort of… exchange. Since I was little, I always felt like there was a flow of energy going on- maybe through the wooden grains of the floorboards or through little unseen pockets in the oxygen. Somehow, through this invisible energy exchange, or maybe through pure magic, she always knows when something isn’t right with me. As I’ve grown up under the (partial) direction of my mother,  she’s taught me how to turn my sandcastles into skyscrapers- trying her hardest to support whatever decisions I’m making and whatever direction I’m heading in (even if she doesn’t completely understand it). My love of music is one of these things; she obviously can’t hear me play the saxophone or sing, nor can she hear the jazz albums I hold closest to my heart, but she wholly supports it all anyways. It’s hard being raised by someone so strong and so self-motivated, though. When she can’t handle a situation, or life just gets to be too much for her, I feel the same way. How am I supposed to stand tall and solid against the current if my own mother can’t? This question has contributed to many late nights- what am I supposed to do when the way of the tides isn’t in my favor? I’m still trying to cope with not knowing the answer, but every summer as I lay my striped beach towel upon the sand, right next to my mom’s, I feel as though I’m a bit closer to figuring it out.

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