I have four best friends and I grew them all in my uterus.
How is that for a super power?
Truthfully, my daughters are everything I would want in a best friend. They are smart, fun, loyal, loving, and energetic. My blonde BFFs and I are stuck like glue and we do all kinds of cliché girlfriend things together like shop and stay up really late giggling and whispering. Hell, we even pee together.
I have to admit that I have always particularly loved being my big girl’s BFF. We have a history her and I, an entire decade chocked full of ups and downs, struggles, and triumphs.
Unfortunately I am sensing that our friendship might be taking a hard right turn here sometime in the near future. She is rapidly approaching age 10 and entering the wicked town of Tween-ville. It is getting increasingly hard to win her love and admiration these days and more often than not I find myself stuck somewhere between feeling like a desperate middle-schooler craving her friendship and an exasperated mother pissed off that it all went by so damn fast.
Our simple mother-daughter friendship is slipping through my fingers and the faster time goes by, the more I try and convince her that I am still her fun and cool best friend. Sometimes I let her stay up past her bedtime. Occasionally I let her drink pop while her little sisters sip on water or milk. If I need to spring for a fluorescent, bug-eyed, Beanie Baby in order to win her love and affection, well I am willing to dole out the $5 it will cost me to maintain my BFF status with my girl. Because she is 10 years old I can still have it both ways. I can be her mother and her best friend.
I know it won’t always be this simple though. At some point we will have to break up. My BFF status will be revoked and I will have to adopt a new moniker:
NBM. No Bullshit Mommy.
I won’t always be able to afford to be her pal. Someday Beanie Babies won’t be what she is begging for. Those $5 easy fixes will be quickly traded in for asinine curfew requests and ripped up jeans that only Kendall and Kylie Jenner can afford. If I want my girls to have a fighting chance at balance in the adult world I’m going to have to keep my eye on the prize.
The prize is to get them all to adulthood and the Land of Productivity.
They will hate me, just like I hated my parents when they told me I couldn’t have a 2 a.m. curfew, or stay out all night after Prom, or have boy-girl sleep overs in high school.
Oh yeah, I actually had the nerve to ask them for these privileges. Not only ask them, but demand them and attempt to shame poor Mom and Dad into letting me have my way. My parents never buckled, they didn’t relent. They, too, exchanged their BFF cards for the more sensible NBM model. They loved me enough to surround me with structure and boundaries as only loving and devoted guardians can do. Very shortly here I will be following suit.
I’ll put my foot down 10 times a day as my little ladies beg, cry, and stomp away slamming their bedroom doors. I love them that much. I love them enough to tell them “hell no” they cannot have their high school boyfriend spend the night. I adore them so much that I will tell them “yeah right” each time they work up the nerve to ask me if they can go to an unsupervised house party.
Yes they will despise me there for a time and I will think back to these simple times and mourn our friendship. I’ll grieve for the countless hours where snuggling on the couch or sitting on the floor playing Barbie was enough to earn their unwavering admiration. I hope the dark days are short lived. If all goes according to plan the girls will use the boundaries that we provide for them and apply them to the University years. Sure they will experiment. They’ll drink, smoke, stumble home a time or two (hundred), but they will make it to their 10 a.m. classes knowing fully that their No Bullshit Mommy and Daddy won’t be funding their college days without stellar grades in return.
I wish it were simpler and we could remain best buds forever, but I already see that chapter coming to a close. Of all the unknowns that lay before us as the girls mature and grow and my husband and I evolve as parents I know one thing for certain:
I love these kids enough to break up with them someday. Best friends we will not always be, but Your Mother is a title I will hold forever hold sacred. That is a promise that you can take to the bank, girls.