When Your Kid Says You’re Her Best Friend, Cling to That Memory for Dear Life

Family Matters on 06.04.12
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Photo: Katie Morton

It started with a business trip. How desperately I missed my daughter manifested itself in the form of anxiety and tears. I wondered if I was cut out for travel away from my family. Over the phone, her little voice brightened my day with, "Hi, Mom! Hi, Mom! Hi, Mom! Hi, Mom!"

I Love This Part of Parenthood

The morning after my return, as I unzipped her sleep sack, Alex cheerfully pipped, "I'm glad you're back!" Damn, that felt good.

Then last week, she said, "I'm happy you're my friend," as she leaned into me for a hug. The next day, she escalated my label to "best friend." I was obsessed with these comments from her. I had to loosen up the pressure valve of happiness bursting in my heart by sharing her remarks on my Facebook wall.

A comment on my post: "You will really need that memory in about 10 or 12 years." And another: "Next time you're having a bad day you need to recall that." That's great advice, right there - to hang onto these wonderful little compliments from my almost-2-year-old.

When she whines and whines, as she crawls into my lap, I ask her, "What's going on, what's happening?" She answers (in a whine), "I'm whining." Today she asks me if her whining is annoying. It is. But her commentary on the fact that she's whining is amusing enough to dispel most of the annoyance. Besides, I'm her best friend. What's a little whining?

Rough Patches

I can't escape the inevitable mental pull forward, through future best friends who will unseat me and end my reign, to the hateful teenage years, and beyond to the empty nest. I have no choice but to laugh and say, "I really do need to remember my moment in the sun." My moment as her best friend, as the one who is there for her, her shoulder to cry on, and the one she has the most fun with.

It's that balance between the extreme highs and lows of parenthood - having this little person whom you adore so completely - adore you right back. But knowing that someday, that amazing human will probably be so wholly annoyed by you and your existence, and they might not pull any punches while telling you how they feel about you. Just like they didn't hold back when they said how much they love you. That's life though, isn't it.

When you do right by your child, no matter what their age, any rough patches will eventually be smoothed over with love and adoration, good feelings and goodwill.

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