I am not your friend. Don't misunderstand me, I'd love nothing more than to just be your friend, but it is not my job.
I'm your parent.
And with that goes the biggest responsibility I've ever been entrusted with.
So as to not mess up this assignment...I am going to follow the rules of what it means to be a parent, even when it sucks to be me. Which honestly, is often.
Wouldn't I rather just agree with you, exchange a few surface niceties and go about my merry way, instead of endlessly dragging out of you whatever your latest problem is? Oh heck yes.
But that isn't the job I took on. And I'm not one to brush things aside, let half truths lie, or hold feelings inside, for long.
So I will scold, prod, encourage, advise, push, pull, question and challenge my way through your week. Every week.
I will even say "no" to you, and I will say it often, without reason, with reason and every place in between.
Because I love you. Because I care. Because I can. Because I am your parent.
I won't attempt to buy your love with special treats, or adventures. I'll instead buy you "real" food, boots, underwear, deodorant, glasses, shampoo and all the other necessities required. I won't help you buy a car you can't afford, instead I will take you to the doctor when you are sick, navigate through your medical bills, bank statements and job applications when they don't make sense, stay up half the night when you have had too much to drink, all in hopes that someday you will learn to be independent. That you will make better choices.
I'd really rather go with you to the flea market, or bowling, out for Chinese or shopping...but instead I will work, so I can pay the bills. I'll do the laundry, clean the house, do the grocery shopping and make sure everyone has a safe, clean and healthy place to live and thrive. A place where friends are welcome and wanted. Where birthdays are celebrated. Where accomplishments are celebrated. And failures are discussed. I'll go to the boring school meetings, the conferences, and attend any baseball games I can fit into my work day.
And when things go wrong in your life, or you face disappointment or failure, I'll still be here---living my boring, predictable existence. Ready to lift you up or bring you back down to reality. All the while doing my best at the hardest job I will ever take on, being your parent. So you can have a chance at a life beyond what you were born into. A life with choices. A life where you can live to be anything you want to be.
I'm your parent, I'm not your friend. And I will always be here.
It actually hurts to say that I am not your friend, because someday I sure would like to be.
In the meantime I'm right here. I haven't changed, even though you have.
I am still the reality check. The thorn in your side. The fun sucker.
The one who loves you more than you can ever imagine.
And I will remain that person, no matter how far you push me away.
Because it is my job as your parent. And I intend to be the best parent I can.
Where do you find strength when life gets hard?