My sister and mother visited me this week. I haven't spent time with just the two of them (or really much uninterrupted time with them in general) for a long time. After they left this morning, I found myself with a very grateful heart. For the visit, of course, and the fun things we did. For my mother's generosity, and the many conversations we were able to have, and even the moment when we got lost in the Financial District. But more than that, I found myself realizing that we have completely made the transition into adult friendship, and for that I am truly grateful.
My parents always talked about us as friends. I remember my dad saying on many occasions that when he and my mom were having kids, he kept thinking, "This is the best! It's like creating friends for yourself!" Which I always thought was a kind of weird thing to say, but now I think it's sweet. And, in our case, true. I think I've recently realized how often that is NOT true, and how grateful I need to be for this.
High school, college years and early twenties are a hard time for parent/child relationships. I can remember many times when I felt justified in making my own decision about something, and my parents felt that since I was still under their roof, they had a say in my actions. That tension is important, and a necessary step in building trust in a newly adult relationship. Parents have to let go, kids have to figure out how to continue to be respectful. I am grateful that my mother said to me, on many occasions, "I want to be your friend, and not just your mother." While I know there are still decisions she would make differently than me, I am so blessed to know that she respects me as a woman who can make my own decisions, and approves of me. And, perhaps most importantly, enjoys hanging out with me.
My sister and I had a similar path to adult friendship. Five years older than me, there was a lot of letting go that Hannah had to do, and a lot I had to learn about humbly accepting advice in our relationship. But there's no one I feel safer with, or who knows me better. And, like my mother, the best part is that we enjoy spending time together.
It's good to have friends who have known you your whole life, and who share your blood. They know who I have been, and they know who I am now, and they know who I want to be. I am so blessed to have strong, wise, fun women as my closest friends, as sisters in Christ, and as family.
~ He Held Radical Light, Christian Wiman
~ An American Childhood, Annie Dillard