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Four Years at the Mount

Junior year

Mothers make the best friends

Nicole Jones
Class of 2014

(5/2013) Over time, Iíve discovered that many people do not have the best relationship with their mothers. That is not to say they donít love their mothers, but rather they find mothers a source of irritation or stress. Mothers are seen as a force holding them in childhood, someone who still wants to enforce rules though they may be 50 or 100 miles apart. Itís something I have never quite understood because I feel drastically different about my own mother. We go shopping together; we ride horses together; we keep no secrets from each other. Simply put, we are best friends, and like any amazing mother, she has always been there.

My mom always made a point to take my brother and me to church on Sundays, to youth group on Wednesdays, and to a private Christian school Monday through Friday. She signed me up for Christian summer camps and Neighborhood Bible Time (NBT), and eventually it paid off. I remember when I was about seven years old, I found myself sitting in an audience at an NBT rally. The preacher gave a sermon I no longer remember and then asked us to bow our heads, fold our hands, and close our eyes. The room full of children twelve years old and younger turned their faces to the ground. The preacher then asked us, "If you were to die today, do you know for sure that you would be going to Heaven?" Children all around the room raised their hands. I could not. He then asked, "If you would like to know for sure, all you have to do is say this prayer with me. Lord, I know I am a sinner, and I know that you sent your Son to die on the cross for my sins, that he was buried and rose again the third day, so that I might not have to pay for my sins. I ask you, Lord, to forgive me of my sins, and I welcome you into my heart. In Jesusí name, Amen." I remember sitting in my seat, repeating the prayer to myself.

"Anyone who just said that prayer with me, Iíd like you to come forward and talk to one of the group counselors." At first, I didnít want to move. I slowly raised my head and looked around. A few other kids walked to the front. Everyone else still had their eyes closed. I slid out of my chair, climbed over a few legs, and made it to the aisle. I walked to the front of the room where a lady met me and took me to the side. She sat down and took me through the Romans Road, making sure I fully understood what my prayer meant. I did. We prayed again, and I returned to the group. I was so excited about what had happened that I couldnít wait for the final song of the service to be over. My mom met me at the door to take me home, and she was the first person I told. She smiled and said, "I know. I saw you." The whole time, she had been sitting in the back of the room, and I hadnít even known.

Five years later, all the popular girls in my sixth grade class were talking about the horses they ride. They had wallet-sized framed photos of their favorite horses displayed on their desks, and they chattered all day about going to the barn after school. I had the notion that horseback riding might be fun, and I should try it. Not to mention, it would help me keep up the conversation at the lunch table. I told my mom that I wanted to start horseback riding lessons. She said, "Alright," and found a riding instructor through a family friend.

I suddenly became nervous. I had to follow through with my idea. What if I didnít like it? What if the other girls just thought I was a copycat? I told my mom that I didnít want to ride anymore. No doubt, just thinking it was the passing fancy of a young girl, my mom did not ask any questions. At school, I continued to hear the barn chatter from the other girls. I couldnít join in. I told my mom that I wanted to take that lesson after all. Another lesson was arranged. Again I tried to back out. This time, my mom said no. Instead, she took me to see the horses of our family friend and meet my new instructor. No lesson, just a meet and greet. It wasnít long before I caught the horse bug and owned my very own pony.

Four years later, I was competing on my high schoolís cheerleading squad. The squad mostly cheered at the schoolís soccer and basketball games, but once a year, we attended a cheerleading competition. They were small competitions, with maybe five other schools competing, but it was exciting nonetheless. The night before, two other girls on the squad slept at my house, and my mom drove us to the competition the next morning. She curled my hair and took pictures, then helped the other girls with finishing touches of glitter in their hair. The squad stretched and warmed up, chatting away our nervousness. The PA system kicked in, "Next up is the Carroll Christian Schools cheerleading squad." We ran out on the floor with our pom-poms, kicking, jumping, and cheering. Mom was front and center in the audience, cheering me on in return.

Two years later, my mom and I were driving home from school. We stopped to pick up the mail before driving down the winding gravel road that leads to our driveway. Mom flipped through the letters and tossed an envelope onto my lap. The Mount St. Maryís logo was stamped on the upper left-hand corner. I hesitated for a second and then tore it open. Silence, then, "I got in!" We both laughed and Mom cried as I read the letter aloud to her, the bumpy gravel passing unnoticed beneath the carís tires.

Four months later, it was the last week of my high school career. I was having lunch at the local Applebeeís with my friends when I received an unexpected phone call. I didnít recognize the number. "Hello?" "Hi, Nicki, this is Pastor Cole," I was worried. Why was my principal calling me? How did he even have this number? "I just wanted to call and let you know that it was really close between you and Brooke Jordan, but you are this yearís valedictorian." I thanked him, hung up, and immediately called my mom.

Several weeks ago, I drove home to visit my mom while my dad was away on a golfing trip. I told her that I finally knew what I wanted to do with my life. "I want to be a speech pathologist." When my dad returned from his trip, I brought the same thing up on the phone, "Yeah, Mom told me, but Iíd like to talk to you in person about it. I sort of felt left out."

Now, I also have a very close relationship with my father, but the bond my mom and I have is so strong and unique, even he feels a little left in the dark sometimes.

Read other articles by Nicole Jones