From Parent to Friend


I collect Willow Tree figurines, and one day my step mom found this at a thrift shop and picked it up for me. She said it was us, having a chat.

I love that. I love that she saw that and thought of me. I love that it does symbolize our relationship: lots of chats, with lots of wisdom and understanding passing through the generations.

I noticed this morning that the women in the figurine are older. It is not of a mother with a young girl; it is with a mother and her grown child, or two friends.

A friend and I were chatting yesterday. She is having a baby, and she was commenting on how her mom was coming over to help and was careful not to intrude but wanted to be available if she needed help. She said, “It’s nice when the relationship changes from parent to friend, isn’t it?”

I nodded, but I realized that I have not viewed my relationship with my parents in that way. I’m older than this friend, so this shocked me. (Shouldn’t I of known this by now??) I realize that this is why when, my parents aren’t perfect, it shocks me. It rocks my world and I get angry. When I catch them in their sins and struggles, I don’t know how to handle it. Because I still hold them up on that parent pedestal, where, they are perfect. They don’t have sins or struggles in my pedestal mindset.

But they aren’t perfect. They are people, just like me, with sins and struggles unique to them. The pedestal is gone.

I realized that my perception of them needs to change. I need to learn to love them as a friend, and respect their roles as parents in my life. Still seeking their wisdom, as someone who has been there, but ultimately making my own choices. Laughing out our mistakes, and our past. Quick to love and forgive them when they aren’t perfect, and understanding that they are human.

I should be finding little trinkets at the thrift shops that remind me of them and picking them up, because that’s what friends do…instead of rationalizing in my head that, “I’m tight on money, surely they know that!” or, “They are my parents…they have everything they need!” Truth is, maybe they just needed to know they were thought of.

And as I think more about this, I realize that not only should I do this, but I want to do this.


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