Are You Friends With Your Parents?
There are varying schools of thought on whether parents should be friends with their kids during the critical ages when children are developing their knowledge about boundaries and right versus wrong and the role of parents in their lives. But when those children get older and can then make the decision for themselves, that's when things get interesting.
Did I mention I live with my parents now? Yea, THANKS HARVEY.... In fact, I lived with them right before our wedding when our house flooded for the first time and then before that I lived with them for 6 months to save up money to buy my first home. So when you look at it, I've lived with my folks for a fair amount of time in my adult years.
Last night I sat on the couch with my folks and we watched The Godfather and quoted our favorite lines in the movie and laughed and agreed that The Godfather is one of the best movies of all time. It felt interesting to sit there with my folks while occupying the space that is usually set aside for old friends. And then it clicked - I'm actually really good friends with my parents. I've always been close with my parents, so I guess I've known there was room for friendship. But in black families you are wise to toe the line between being cool with your parents and fearing them (especially when they remind you that they brought you in this world and will gladly take you out).
I'm the baby of the family - a role that I proudly own and freely use to my advantage. I enjoy being taken care of by my parents, especially when I'm feeling vulnerable (like now when life is kind of a shit show) and just need someone to say, "it's OK" and make me hot snacks on a Tuesday afternoon just because. But there are definitely more times when instead of being the baby of the family, I am just as happy being the friend who will discuss the best sports moments of the 1990s with my Dad over breakfast, or go to Pilates with my mom and chat about the ridiculous (but necessary) trend of women owning fur coats in Houston, Texas.
I can't really pinpoint when it happened but at some point after becoming independent and getting off my parents' payroll, I was able to see my parents as the people that they are and get to know them in that capacity. Similarly, I'd like to think that they also are getting to know me on a level that they didn't when it was all worry worry worry as the parents of a Type-A people-pleasing-perfectionist.
Now, I find myself grappling with the reality that my folks are getting older. I fully acknowledge that time is really precious and that living with them now is probably a blessing in disguise. At times I get emotional thinking about how much time I wasted not sitting on the couch with them and getting to know them even more than I have in the last 10 or so years of my life. And even though that's probably just how things go over the life of the parent-child relationship, can't we all agree that there is no substitute for spending time with people who love you...especially when they are not just your parents, but also your friends?
What about you? Are you friends with your parents?