The Daily Illini

Sometimes distance brings you closer

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Sometimes distance brings you closer

Staff writer Arden Youn (right) poses with her mother for a photo. Youn writes about her relationship with her mom while in college.

Staff writer Arden Youn (right) poses with her mother for a photo. Youn writes about her relationship with her mom while in college.

Photo Courtesy of Arden Youn

Staff writer Arden Youn (right) poses with her mother for a photo. Youn writes about her relationship with her mom while in college.

Photo Courtesy of Arden Youn

Photo Courtesy of Arden Youn

Staff writer Arden Youn (right) poses with her mother for a photo. Youn writes about her relationship with her mom while in college.

By Arden Youn, Staff Writer

Throughout my entire life, I have bickered with my mom more times than I can count. These fights were never big but a steady stream of little spats. It seems the most striking feature I inherited from her is her temper.

Since I’ve been away at college, I’ve realized how much my mom means to me. Being so far away from her has helped me understand how much she does for me on a regular basis. She has sacrificed so much and continues to now.

She has always put my happiness before her own. I am so lucky to have a mom who loves me so deeply and so wholeheartedly.

I began to understand just a fraction of her unconditional, selfless love for me, and it breaks my heart to think I have been taking it for granted for so long.

The tiniest things remind me of her. At first, it was inconsequential things, like dining hall food. I missed the love she poured into making traditional dishes I love. I thought of her when I did my laundry for the first time, when my friend told me to bundle up on our way out the door and when I had to make my own tea when I was sick.

I continue to see her in the good things I do daily, but I miss how much I could rely on her through the bad.

While shopping, I was sitting in a shoe store as a woman was with her kids, buying them brand new, expensive sneakers. She was wearing old, beat up gym shoes. 

This moment moved me so much, and I had to think about why. Her selflessness reminded me of my own mom. I didn’t know this family or this woman, but I could see a fragment of my mom’s love.

The woman was willing to buy the best for her kids despite the quality of her own belongings. This exemplified a love so reckless it almost seemed too good to be true, yet it was something I experienced every day.

On my worst day, I feel the strength of my mom’s care and love, and on my very best, I could only hope to be half the person she is with half the strength and grace she embodies.

Now that our time is limited, we treasure it and look forward to it. I’ve connected with her in a way like never before. Our conversations are more meaningful. Instead of bickering, we discuss things that matter to us both.

College has been really difficult for me, but she keeps me going. I call her to vent about my struggles, and she comforts me like nothing and nobody else can. When she tells me she’s proud of me, I feel like I can do anything I put my mind to.

I am so thankful for college — not only for the memorable nights, experiences and friendships I know will last a lifetime, but also for the relationship with my mom I never knew I could have.

Perhaps living away from my mom is what made me realize that I can’t live without her. Perhaps the distance away from my mom was the thing I needed to get closer to her.

Arden is a freshman in Business

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