By Sara Shaygan

My mother sits in her reclining chair, weaving a blanket that she has strewn over her lap, our cat nestled underneath it. The cat loves my mom the most. It’s tempting to pretend that I am miffed by my cat’s favoritism, but I can’t blame her. My mom is my favorite, too, and if it was still appropriate for me to wiggle myself onto her lap every time she sat down, then I probably would.

The blanket that my mother is weaving is for my first apartment. She tells me that she won’t be okay with me leaving until she’s made something tangible to take with me. It is a piece of her to give to me for the days that are so tough I can’t even breathe. I can’t wait to wrap myself in this blanket. To let it hold me as she is holding it now, with so much care and attention and protectiveness. She loves me more than I know how to love anything.

When I first went off to college, I called her between every class. She answered every time, even when she probably should’ve been answering the phone at work instead. I think I talked to her more in that first year than I ever talked to her at home. I missed her more than I expected, more than I could’ve known.

The first month of school went something like this:

“I miss you, Mama.” That was an understatement.

“Oh honey, I miss you too. I’m only keeping it together because your dad won’t stop moping, and I have to be setting a good example here.”

“And our cat?”

“The mopiest of all. I swear I’m the only one around here acting like a sane person.”

“So everything is exactly as I left it?

“Yes, it’s exactly how you left it.”

“And you’re not sad I’m gone?”

Sara Shaygan is an avid reader, theatre artist, feminist, cat lover, and passionate storyteller. She hails from Los Angeles, where she plans to return after finishing her degree at SU.