On making your parents into your besties
I have found that one of the most interesting parts of adulthood has been getting to know my parents. I know, that may sound a bit odd. Of course you know your parents, you grew up with them! You spent 18 years living under their roof. What I mean is, I’ve gotten to see them as people. People with a history long before I ever came into the picture. As I’ve reached this third decade of my life, my parents are more than just the two adults responsible for keeping me alive; they are no longer just Mom and Dad who I assume have the answers to everything. They are instead, two of my very best friends.
When you are a child, your parents are your safety net. Even when you hit your bratty teenage years—let’s be honest, we all had our moments—we still turned to our parents in an emergency, and they almost always had the final say. If you happened to be grounded, you could kick and scream, but you weren’t making it to Jenny’s party that night. And when my parents told me I couldn’t watch the movie Cruel Intentions, my attempt to sneak downstairs in the early morning and watch it was foiled pretty quickly.
This doesn’t mean that as a now thirty-year-old I no longer need my parents. Even though we live on opposite coasts, my gut reaction is still to call them first if ever in an emergency. And, I constantly call and ask questions ranging from the mundane “how do you hard boil an egg?” to the more pressing “should I take this job offer?” When you are an adult (which as much as I’ve tried to avoid it, I now am) you make the ultimate decision in the choices you have. Instead of giving a mandate, my parents can only offer their very best advice. And lucky for me, I greatly value their opinions and thoughts.
As my friends begin to have children and I see that a lot of what they do is learnt on the job, I realize that my parents must have had a similar experience. They didn’t always know what they were doing! As a kid, you have blind faith. As an adult, you realize they did their best, but some of the time, they were clueless. I once was called into the principal’s office because I was wearing a shirt that said “Jail-Bait” across the chest. Imagine my surprise to learn that a shirt my mom had bought me was the reason I was in trouble. She had no idea what that expression meant (but rest assured, she does now).
Since we are all adults, we are more open than ever before about all aspects of life. Topics that were at once taboo to discuss in the parent/child relationship are now fair game. At first it’s weird to hear about their dating lives back when they were single, but it is also kind of cool to picture them in similar circumstances to my life now. It’s fun that we can share stories of drunken mistakes and foolish “I can’t believe we did that” scenarios. As my friends, I tell them a lot about my life.
I’ve found my friendship with my parents to be one of the best ones that I have. I want to hang out with them! I never have that nagging feeling of “what are my friends up to?” while spending time with my parents. Because now, they are one in the same.
My parents and I have a lot of similarities and many of our interest are aligned. I felt proud that I could take my parents with me to my favorite spinning class while they were visiting me in LA, because I know not everyone can do that. We all love to be active. I’ve never had to fight my parents on getting up and going for a bike ride, and when they suggest a long morning hike, I am of course, on board.
I really feel secure telling my parents anything. Sometimes I want their advice and other times I just need to vent; either way, I know they will be there for me to do so. Unlike my other groups of close friends, with my parents, we have completely different social circles. With them, I can share private information or gossip and there is no fear of it getting back to someone in my group. What is also really gratifying to me is that this goes both ways. I know my parents feel comfortable sharing personal information with me and that they want and value my advice as well. Like true friends, we all bring our unique personalities and strengths to the friendship. I can say with confidence that we will always be BFF.