I’m My Daughter’s BFF (And It Takes A Lot of Work)

beings friends with your kids

Photo courtesy Sally Cavanaugh Films & Photos

Hey there, blonde haired, blue-eyed pixie. Big sister, artist, dancer, and food allergy kid. My love, my daughter, my friend. my daughter’s best friend

Yeah, I said it. You’re my friend. But more importantly, I am your friend.

Your best friend.

Yes, I’m the mom, and I run the show – but that doesn’t mean I can’t be your friend. Do you know why our friendship is so crucial?

Because it’s the blueprint for all of your future friendships.

We are together day in and day out. You see my best and my worst, and I see yours. You watch me serve and sacrifice. I watch you do the same.

Your cousins aren’t there in the middle of the night when you’re feverish and sleeping with a bowl by your bed. Our cute little neighbor girls don’t whip up your favorite dessert when you’ve had a hard day. Your buddy from art class is fun for a laugh and making a mess, but he’s not who you call when your heart needs a Band-Aid. Those are my jobs.

In the not-too-distant future, you will do those things for the people you choose to invite into your circle. You and your friends will take care of each other when you’re sick and your moms aren’t there. There will be broken hearts and tears before there are engagement rings and bridal showers. Then pregnancy and motherhood will arrive, bringing with them a level of helplessness and need for community the likes of which you’ve never seen.

Jumping in to help isn’t always easy, but it’s necessary. It’s hard to know what to do when someone is struggling – but you can’t do nothing, sweetheart.

Never do nothing.

Don’t let them grieve alone or let them think the world wouldn’t notice if they simply disappeared one day. Don’t let them think God has forgotten them, and don’t make excuses about not having enough time or money. People are a priority or they’re not. Cheer them on in their endeavors, rejoice in their successes, and always look for ways to show them they are special to you. You can use your words, your time, and your actions. I hope this will be your default setting – your natural response to the people you care about. Even on days you don’t feel like making the effort, do it anyway.

It takes work to build relationships that don’t implode at the first hint of conflict. I’m doing my best to model patience, forgiveness, service, and how to set boundaries. People take advantage of those who are always willing to give and serve – but that doesn’t mean we stop giving and serving. We do it as long as it is the best thing we can offer. But I want you to be able to say “no” when it’s necessary. There will be times that doing so is the best and most loving thing you can do for someone else. Sometimes saying “no” is what’s best for you, and that’s OK, too. When you hear that word from me, I know it makes you upset. I know you don’t always understand, but I have to say it, anyway.

So, here we are – two best friends with a 30-year age gap.

I love that we have a Secret Best Friends Handshake and that many of our interests overlap and can be shared together. I’m even glad our arguments (and occasional hurt feelings) are showing you that it is possible to disagree with someone and still love them with every fiber of your being. I want you to know that I CHOOSE YOU. Whether you’re five, thirty-five, or sixty-five years old, I’m not merely tolerating you because I gave birth to you. I choose you. I value your friendship, honesty, and even your criticisms, because you know me better than most. And because I will be your cheerleader, counselor, benefactor, and sounding board for the rest of your life.

One of my favorite writers has said that a ‘Best Friend’ isn’t person, it’s a tier. It’s a level of committed love and intimacy you can only give to a few. There is a very short window of time where I don’t have to share your heart with a host of other people, and I’m using it to teach you how to give and receive friendship the only way I know how.

It’s OK for me to be on your Top Tier – don’t ever let anyone tell you it’s not. I’m happy to camp out here for as long as you need me.



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