Erika Jenko
August 10, 2016 5:40 pm
FOX

The first relationship we will literally ever encounter is the one we have with our parents. This relationship happens before we ever go on our first date; it happens well before we even know who we are as people. As is the case with any important relationship, it changes a lot as time goes on. You might be watching Snow White curled up on the couch with your mom one day, then arguing with her because she won’t let you get your nose pierced a few years later.

Still, the changes in our interactions with the people who once changed our diapers aren’t all bad ones. Here are some really cool ways that your relationship with your parents changes after you’ve spent a few years in the adult world.

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Your parents are human, too.

 It’s hard to believe, right? When we communicate with our parents, it’s sometimes easier to focus on the negative aspects. Why can’t my parents fully understand my dreams? Why don’t they get that I can’t stay at a job that makes me unhappy just to pay the bills? Here’s the deal: Your parents want you to be happy. It’s a priority for them. When you talk to them about your problems, they want to help. They want to guide you. They want to make it all better. They also carry a lifetime of experience and can relate to at least some part of what you’re saying.

Your parents aren’t perfect. And you aren’t either. They’ve made mistakes in their pasts — some of which they might deeply regret. The last thing that they want is for you to tread down a similar path that may have brought them pain and unhappiness. The best thing about being a grownup is that you can see your parents for who they really are. They are so much more than the superheroes who hung your drawings on the fridge. They are real people, and when you get to know your parents as an adult, you experience and share the hard parts of life together.

You’ll finally understand why they worried about you.

Whether it was a curfew or a required phone call when you were running late, your parents made sure you got home safely. When you’re first experiencing small doses of freedom, like hanging out with your friends after school, checking in with your parents feels like a chore. It may even feel unnecessary.

Fast forward to living with your boyfriend. Your boyfriend goes out to grab drinks with his friends, and you spend a quiet evening binge watching Real Housewives. Midnight sneaks up on you, and he’s still not home. No biggie, right? He’s a grownup. So you crawl into bed and read. 1AM arrives, but your boyfriend doesn’t. You check your phone. Surely, you’ve missed a text from him explaining that he is safe and will be home late. 2AM rolls around. Nothing. You’re going to call the cops. 3AM arrives and so does your boyfriend. He’s totally safe and fine, and he might even be wondering why you’re panicking. And in this moment, you’ll think back to all the times your parents got upset when you didn’t check in with them. And I promise you, you’ll want to call your parents and apologize for past behavior. That type of worrying is just plain awful.

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You can finally grab the check.

Remember that magic moment when you were first able to purchase something with your own hard-earned money? Wasn’t it incredible? Going to Blockbuster and renting Homeward Bound with your babysitting money was a thrill. You’re hooked on that feeling of independence, and before you can say ‘Neverland,’ you’ve flown off into your beautiful life of adult responsibility — aka an apartment and phone bills. Suddenly, this previously sought after independence becomes a little daunting. Going to a movie is now a luxury. How do people afford to pay rent and go out to dinner?

You do your best to live a frugal life, and you may even be on a first name basis with your credit card collections agencies. But then, one day, something magical happens: All of your hard work brilliantly balances to a point where you can actually afford buying a round of beers for you and your dad. You can splurge on a trip to the movies with your mom and buy her a cocktail — all without having to worry about whether you can pay your internet bill that month. And whenyou experience that for the first time, you’ll feel like a little kid who just earned their first allowance.

Their life advice is spot on.

Remember when your parents threw advice left and right as you navigated your teen years? Chances are, you probably shrugged off some of their tips — or if you’re like me, rebelled against everything they told you. And that’s totally fine and completely normal. But once you start paying rent and working full-time, you might find yourself completely stumped by certain questions: Can I claim this as a deduction on my taxes? How do I cook eggplant without making it soggy? And more often than not, your parents will be very excited to share their wisdom because you’re reaching out to them for guidance.

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Enjoy these little moments of growing up. Whether you’re having your first baby or navigating your first job, hug your family every once in a while. They helped you get to where you are today. They’re cheering you on.

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