She likes to have one us (either me or her dad) lie in bed with her for a few minutes each night before she falls asleep. I don’t think I pictured us still doing this when she was 12 but these are sacred moments which I know will not last forever (pretty sure I’m on borrowed time!) so I cherish them.
The other night, we talked about the youth group trip she would be leaving for in the morning and I told her how much I would miss her. She said, “I wish you could come with me mom.”
I smiled and felt all warm and fuzzy inside and replied, “But if I did, you wouldn’t really want me around anyway because you’ll want to be with your friends.” She smiled knowing I was right but then she said, “But you’re my BEST friend, Mom.” (Cue the waterworks!).
After I wiped my face and gave her a million kisses and hugs, I left her room overwhelmed with gratitude. Because I honestly never really set out to be her ‘friend’. I’m Mom. I’m her parent first and I always will be.
But there’s this beautiful dance that’s been happening more and more lately. One where we spin and twirl between being mother/daughter and being friends. We have SO much fun together. Laughing hysterically at things only we would find funny, shopping and playing countless rounds of UNO. Lying on her bed together chatting about everything and nothing.
And with the challenges of middle school friendships, I’ve sensed that I’ve become more to her than just Mom. So when she told me I was her best friend, it affirmed something that I’ve always hoped would happen. That we would have the kind of relationship I have with my own mother. One where the mother ‘hat’ and the ‘friend’ hat can be worn simultaneously and can enhance each other in a way that makes it hard to separate them out. Where there is absolute respect for the parental role and absolute security and freedom found in the friendship role.
Recently my mom shared this quote as she expressed gratitude for the relationship she had with her own mother.
“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pour them all right out just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping and then with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away.” (George Eliot)
It’s not about having the perfect relationship. It’s about having one that is so safe, so secure that you know you can truly be yourself and share it all. The messy, the beautiful, the sacred and the scary.
It’s been the prayer of my heart since I first held my sweet girl in my arms and I’m beyond grateful that God heard it and is answering it in ways that are both mighty and humbling.