Day 4: The Binder

by ashleighpenrod

I have a binder full of two women.

My extremely thoughtful mother saved and printed every instant message conversation we exchanged while I was in college. It was back in AIM‘s heyday, so there at least 300 pages. The binder is filled with insight into a relationship between a firstborn exploring independence and a mother trying to let her have it from 2,000 miles away. Concern, gratitude, virtual eye-rolls—it’s all in there.

From spring of sophomore year:

Mom: You didn’t really blow off work yesterday, right? It was a day off? Also, please find out what info you need in order to buy a parking permit.
Me: Mom. I wouldn’t just blow off work, obviously. They gave us the day off.
Me: They would SEE me blowing it off.
Mom: I know that. You are a good girl.
Mom: A really bad thing just happened to dad.
Me: What?
Mom: He turned on the stove for tea and his robe started on fire. I am totally serious.
Me: Oh my gosh!
Me: I’m sorry; it sounds somewhat humorous… Is he okay??
Mom: He is okay, but I am not exaggerating that there were flames shooting off of his arm and the back of his robe. He is okay, but not thinking it is humorous at the moment.
Me: Wow, did he get burned?
Mom: No, but his robe is probably shot.
Me: Well, that’s okay.
Mom: He didn’t get burned. Our house smells really bad.
Me: I bet. Gross.
Mom: So anyway, back to the subject at hand. Will you get a parking permit? You have no plates yet but you can purchase one without that.

Related: When Parents Text.