In books, moms are the ones who hang their kids’ finger paintings up on the refrigerator, even if their kindergarten sense of composition leaves much to be desired. They are the ones who cry happy tears when their Mother’s Day breakfast in bed once again consists of burnt toast and a glass of milk. They are the ones who keep macaroni art in the attic, popsicle stick picture frames in a shoebox, and their opinions to themselves.

I am so lucky I don’t have that kind of mom.

My mom is the kind of mom that has read my current work in progress thirteen times. Yup. You read that right. Thirteen. I just went back through my email and counted.

She’s the kind of mom that says, “I’m still confused about what Emmy’s motivation is,” and “There’s no way Ms. Delaney would encourage her students to cut class,” and “This chapter doesn’t serve your story.”

She’s the kind of mom that sits on the phone with me while I talk through plot holes, character arcs, structural limitations.

She listens to me read countless lines of bad poetry, and alerts me when I finally stumble on something worthwhile. 

She lets me know when my thesis gets lost in word soup, or when it never made any sense to begin with.
My mom still reads everything I write.

Every poem, every picture book, every novel.

It’s not “done” until she says it’s done. Until she says, “I actually liked it a lot!” (as though she’s surprised) and maybe, if I’m lucky, forwards it to my grandmother.

My mom is, and will always be, my first reader.

So if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for me to send her this essay*

*My mother would like everyone to know that she HAS in fact saved boxes of our old artwork. And I would like everyone to know that, even though she referred to “some of it” as “sweet and adorable,” she also called it “crap”.

Aimee Lucido is a software engineer at Uber. She is represented by Kathleen Rushall and is working on a novel in verse about a girl learning to program. In her spare time she runs, writes crossword puzzles, and watches The Bachelor with her fiance.