I'm sitting in Istanbul, drinking coffee, eating chocolates and
everything is different. 
But everything is good. 

The kindness of strangers has been the
biggest surprise on this journey, so far.  

I was told to be aware- which I am.
And to be smart- which I try

But still, I could not do this alone. And sometimes, more often than I like,
that means trusting people. 
Strange people.

Maybe that has been the biggest surprise thus far: 

You'll never walk alone. 

A theme. My junior AP English teacher would love this.
Hell, I love this. 

Here, I have another theme:


And their magical insight and keen awareness
to attend to any child in need. 

This one is to the mothers.

In taxis, leading a lost daughters to the bus station and translating unimaginable languages to a vaguely familiar tongue. 

And at home, in the U.S., encouraging us to take the road less traveled, down the dark alleys- 
as long as your gut agrees.

To the mothers in the Tel Aviv market, glowing and smiling with joy at receiving a copy of their son's dissertation. 

To my adopted mothers of Kas, who all came to wave goodbye, who brought me food and who slipped me extra money; who gave me a long and unaccomplishable list of things to do in their Istanbul; who made sure to tell the bus driver where I was going and to make sure I got there. 

I'm not sure I would've gotten their without you. 

And to the Grandmothers of Turkey- the women who are the neck of the house headed by men. The Grandmothers who yell about eating more yogurt (I think) then shine with pride when they speak of their accomplished kin. 

The Grandmother who waved furiously goodbye to her family out the bus window and tried her hardest to communicate with the little American wearing a tank-top. The Grandmother who tucked in my flannel I was using as a blanket during my 13 hour bus ride, right as I was falling asleep. The same Grandmother whole stole me extra biscuits from the food trolley while I was sleeping; who continually asked if I was married, in a loving way, not in a you ought to be way. The Grandmother who glowed when she showed me pictures of her Grandbabies, on her old, broken phone. 

To the mothers- mostly my mother- who can retrieve a lost airline ticket, despite reason for said loss or the continent it was supposed to take you to. 

The mothers who raised countless teenagers- those of us who ran through kitchens and backyards and snuck in through the backdoor at 2am.  

I think you knew. Moms know everything. 
(It's kind of weird actually- does that just happen when you have kids?) 

To the mothers of Syria and Iraq. I see you. I don't hear your voices because that isn't in your nature but I hear your eyes, the way they combine a certain calm and gentleness with a fierce I-Am-A-Survivor tone. Thank you for insisting on another pair of socks for your little one. Thank you for letting me play with your daughters and sons, despite the fact that I look different and act different. Thank you for always make tea- always, without a second thought. 

This is to the mothers who never saw their child go to prom. Or graduate college.
Or had the privilege to worry as their little potato experienced the world.

This is to the mothers who will send their daughters off in marriage, and will likely never see them again. 

To the Grandmothers, mostly my Grandmother, 
who taught Sass as a coping mechanism,
who asked:
"Aren't you cold?" at every chance of a slight shiver in late Autumn or early Spring. 

Here is to the moms, because they don't get nearly the credit they deserve. 

The yet-to-be Moms who are scared,
the Moms who have to deal with anyone between 12 and 17 tonight,
the Moms who can talk about sex,
the Moms who will never be Moms, 
the Moms who taught you how to rub your feet together when they got cold at night. 

The passionate moms who cry about everything.  
The logical Moms who remind you about reason.  

We could not do life without you. 

Where ever you are. 
Where ever we are. 

Thank you. 

For reminding me to brush my teeth, 
for taking my Instagram pictures,
for teaching me Independence

for helping me see the world. 

I raise my Turkish coffee to you. 

*And in the name of equality, 
to the Dad's,

because without you, I'd have no sense of budget, direction, happy tears, or good music.