I’ve just had the supreme pleasure of spending four days with my daughter. Not a sentence I thought about when she was born! Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect to not spend time with her as an adult, I just didn’t think about it. And then, of course, there were the 18 years or so when I took being able to spend time with her for granted.
When I was in my twenties my mother drove me crazy. Of course I loved her but mostly I saw her on holidays with my extended family. I certainly never took vacation from work to spend time with her — we lived several states apart and for the most part I was okay with it.
It’s probably no surprise then that I’ve never been one of those moms who, when raising our kids said, “my kids are my best friends.” I felt as the parent I couldn’t expect to be popular. My role was to love, care for, guide, and teach. As part of that I needed to make and enforce rules. Perhaps that was my Mom’s approach. I would say for my mom and me the transition to friendship happened when I was in my late forties.
I don’t know if I consciously wanted a friendship between my daughter and me sooner than that or not, but a change happened in my relationship with her shortly after she graduated from college. Suddenly I looked at the level-headed, responsible, and beautiful (inside and out) young woman who was my daughter and I wanted to celebrate our accomplishments — she managed to survive my mothering, and I, well, I thought to myself, “I’ve done my job! I can relax and enjoy!” I knew I had made some movement toward a transition to friendship when she observed, “Mom, how come you are so nice to me all of the time now?” I responded that the “job” portion of my relationship with her was finished, and it was time for me to delight in the product of my mothering.
And, so I do. I’ve learned my adult daughter is a wonderful combination of genetics from both her parents. She is very fun, very smart, very accomplished, and very determined. She is a kind person and good person. She has an amazing sense of right and wrong, and she’s not too shy to make a suggestion for improvement when the situation is right. She “reads people” beautifully and is an amazing judge of character. She is an incredible mimic and has the ability to make me laugh non-stop if she tries. [I do think she’d be a really great standup comic, although am grateful she has not taken me up on the idea.] One of the nicest things for me is she’s one of my biggest fans and I take that as a huge compliment.
You were an easy child to raise, my sweet, and I hope I get to continue to reap the rewards for years and years to come. I’m proud of you and love you!
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