It has been four long months since you left for medical school and Dad and I haven't seen you. We even missed being with you on your 23rd birthday. During our last phone call you asked if I couldn't try to be less of a mother and more of a friend when you got home, as you were quite mature and independent now. Respecting your wishes, I thought I should write you this letter.
My refrigerator is not well . . . it is defrosting all the food in the freezer, warming the refrigerated foods and putting a puddle of water on my kitchen floor. While waiting for the repair man to come, I have had time to bake two quiches (so as to use up defrosted ingredients) and to think of how I can treat you as a friend and not as a mother when you come home for Christmas vacation. By the way, one of our neighbors is ill, so when my meat-and-sweet-potato quiche was ready, I phoned her to see if I could bring some to her. She said she would be delighted to have it, but when I got to her apartment her brother and sister-in-law were visiting so I flew back up to our apartment to get their portions, too--quiche, cole slaw, cantaloupe slices on each platter, for which they all seemed most grateful . . . I most of all, as I didn't know what else to do with all the food I had cooked after Dad and I ate our helpings.
At once I see that I have already overstepped the bounds of friendship: You would never tell all of the above to a friend, but families as close as we are communicate all this trivia, as well as important data.
Now to the nitty-gritty of how I shall turn from mother to friend.
None of your friends would shop for food for you or prepare your favorite foods, so I think you should know that I am not planning to do that, either. You will probably enjoy going to McDonald's, because I am sure you will not want to bother cooking while you're on vacation.
I have plenty of washing machine powder on hand for you to do your laundry with.
Dad and I are very busy with all sorts of San Diego doings, so you will have to catch us on the run, should you want to talk with us. We always have time to talk over matters that concern us family-wise but, as you can understand, our friends' problems must come second, much as we may love them.
I was going to be a silly mother and have your car washed and gassed up for you but, of course, that won't be necessary now.
We planned to take our son out to dinner, to the symphony, etc., but under the circumstances we feel the expense would be too high, so you'd better plan to spend your 17 days at home on your own, and do all your own planning.
We have a Hanukkah gift for our son, but it is not suitable for a friend, so that will have to remain in limbo.
When you go to have your wisdom teeth pulled, as you had planned to do while on vacation, you'd better stagger home by yourself because you wouldn't want to ask a friend to accompany you, would you?
I won't ask if you have taken your vitamin C or if you have your allergy medication with you, or remind you to take a sweater if the weather is chilly.
When you arrive at the airport it will be a quick handshake, and maybe a hug. I kiss only certain friends, and I don't think we know each other well enough. But Dad and I are looking forward to seeing you, and having you visit with us. You are welcome to use our son's room.
If I forgot anything, let me know.
Your erstwhile mother