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Her name was Linda Houghten but I called her “Linda Hoe” because I hated her with a passion.

My mom was inherently a saver. As a child, we lived on bare minimums so that my mom could put enough away for a better future. She was the CEO of a software company- a black sheep in a male-dominated industry. She was inspirational. A badass. When business was struggling, she and my step-dad went without paychecks to keep the company afloat but her savings stayed put.

Her scrimping paid off- the business became extremely successful and so was she- a sought-after keynote speaker across the country. So, when she finally had saved enough to redecorate our 80K house, she hired the best.

Enter Linda Houghten.

The woman who wanted to change everything.

Generally, I’m not a vindictive or hateful person. I think carrying hate is more exhausting for the bearer than the target. But if I were to see Linda in person right now, I can’t say I’d give her a hug.

And it’s all because she made our house more beautiful.

My mom’s bedroom looked like a hotel room, so did our living room.

Patterns, slip-covers, window-treatments- the whole works.

I hated it all because it was change.

I’m the kid that cried when our area code changed from 804 to 757. I’m the kid that used to tape plastic containers over the ant hills when it rained because I couldn’t bear to witness their hard word ruined in a flash.

Consistency felt safe. Change felt terrifying.

So when it came to my piano bench? I stood my ground.

She wanted to cover it with a floral material.

Hell-to-the-no.

My mom could see the hair rising on my back and knew when to fold.

No, the piano that my father had gifted me would not be touched.

And I’mmatellyallwhat-

Victory was mine.

I’d lost the rest of the house, but I’d won what deeply mattered to me:

My mom had my back.

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