From Babies to Buddies
It seems like just a short while ago, we found out we were expecting a baby. Igniting our will to give him or her every opportunity imaginable. We would build a fortress to protect our baby from harm, disappointment, and all of the tough challenges we knew he or she would have to face in this world.
I spent plenty of time envisioning the kind of mom I wanted to be. The one whose children would come talk to her about anything. One of those cool moms. The best friend kind that always shows tolerance and understanding.
I wanted our house to be the “go to” shelter. With an awesome basement and super cool parents, surely all the kids would want to hang out at our house. That way I could insure their safety and be a part of things.
It didn’t take me long to switch the channel from Leave it to Beaver to Gilligan’s Island, where survival depended more on leadership and compromise than popularity.
My visions of perfect parenting never included saying, “Let me just say it like this. You better not get caught!” or “The leash is long and trust me, you don’t want to be on a short one!”
The idea of not being my kids’ friend frightened me. If they can’t come to me for everything, who will they go to?
I finally figured out that our job as parents is to give children what they need, not what we want them to need.
We realized we could give so much more as parents than we could as friends. Direction, boundaries, advice, limits, wisdom, and guidance– a smorgasbord of support that would impact their future lives.
And that future is now.
In the blink of an eye, our kids are grown. A moral compass implanted in each of them guiding their paths.
As I struggle to remember these children as they were, I acknowledge what they have become. The sadness of leaving their childhoods behind is overcome by the joy of moving forward.
Because we chose to be parents, now we can be friends.