The day my oldest son turned 18 he had something big to say. Something he had been holding in and something that would not be forgotten. His statement was one that I could not deny. Though I did not feel a bit bad about retracting my words on his 18th birthday. The friendship line was not to be crossed.
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There was a time more than a dozen years ago that it was just the two of us. My first son and myself. We were a team. But we were not friends. It did not matter how many of my sentences he could finish or the number of my favorite things he could name – I was not and would not be his friend.
When my first teammate was 4 or 5 years old he told me that I was his best friend. And like any other child at that age he followed his statement with a question. “Am I your best friend too, Mommy?” I probably answered quicker than I should have but I immediately responded with a very firm “No, you are not my best friend. We are not friends at all.”
Harsh. And maybe even a parent fail for being so prompt and so stern with a such little boy but I explained. I told him that we could not be friends because I was his Mommy. We discussed what I like to call the friendship line and I informed him that it could not be crossed until he was an adult.
That was not the last conversation that the two of us would have regarding the friendship line; however, the conclusion was always the same. We were not friends and we could not be friends until he was an adult. He did not forget those words.
The morning of my first born’s 18th birthday he came down stairs with an extra birthday boy pep in his step. I immediately said Happy Birthday and received a hug. Then with one hand on my forearm and with a smirk on his face my 18 year old said to me “now we are friends”.
WHAT? No. Absolutely not.
By ‘adult’ I did not mean 18!! I mean who really believes an 18 year old is an adult anyway? (Besides the military.) My KID was still in high school for crying out loud. So on his 18th birthday I took it back. I retracted my statement. I felt like a liar but I could not be friends with my high school son no more than I could my kindergarten son. After arguing his point he conceded and asked “then when will you consider me an adult?” Again, I answered way too quick. “Twenty-one”.
Do you know how fast the years go between 18 and 21?
On my son’s 21st birthday he proclaimed that we were friends. I could not deny it.
The truth is, I could not be more blessed than to have a friend like my first born. He is loyal, kind, giving, honest and he is just, morally right and fair. But that friendship had to wait. I had to be his parent first. I had to help build his foundation, teach him, guide him, love him through the growing years, give him boundaries, mentor him and encourage values. Parenting had to come first.
Friendship Line; Did that really just happen?
Last week something big happened. There was a brief moment that my son and I were under the same roof at the same time. We had two minutes to chat before he was off to take a test. He started the conversation asking about my life and a recent development that I had been sorting through with the help of my husband and my cousin.
Our conversation was short but before he left he turned around and said something to me that only a friend would say. He shared his unsolicited opinion. His tone was one of concern, love and support. His words felt different than that of a child. There was an overwhelming feeling of friendship.
My son had crossed the friendship line the day he turned 21. Last week I crossed the same line. My adult child became my friend.