I first hear those words just over 18 years ago. Once in a while, I still hears them from one of my four daughters… sometimes even from my teenage daughters.
At the time, I worried that I would never live up to the title. I worried that, maybe, I couldn’t be her best friend. I will be the mom, for life.
This isn’t to say that mothers can’t also be friends or that we can’t be, at the very least, fun. When it comes to your children, you love them so much and you honor their clever insight, wisdom and how well they know you. Sometimes your children crawl into bed with you at night and snuggle. There is plenty of room in there after all. The next thing you know they are borrowing your clothes and confiding in you. All like that best friend you cherish so much. BUT THEY ARE STILL YOUR CHILDREN.
But motherhood is a cosmic force. It is a love that is bigger than me, bigger than my biggest ideas, bigger than any of my understandings of how the cosmos works.
Motherhood splits you open, a tree sliced by a bolt of lightning, splinters flying. I float now in a space marked by longing of the years when grubby little hands grabbed my face and vulnerability as a crabby teen unleashes his wrath in the family room and joy of watching my oldest daughter get ready for motherhood for the first time. I find myself in a place where no amount of glue could assemble my pieces as simply or as seamlessly as they were in the years before motherhood. Yet… I can’t say I’d change anything.
Today I am thankful to be a mom, a daughter, a sister, and friend… sometimes all at once.
Today I am thankful for the 3 hours of one on one time I had with my youngest daughter. She went to a job with me and we did her schoolwork responsibilities. I am grateful I could be her mom and her friend.
Today I am grateful for young teen daughter who stayed at home with little people and held the fort while I was gone. I am grateful that we share a love of music and singing loud. I am grateful that I can be both mom and friend.
Today I am grateful for the text messages and the Facebook posts and the phone call with my oldest daughter. It is so fun to help her prepare for her first baby. I’m grateful that as she moved into adulthood, we both are able to embrace the role mom, daughter and friend.
Today I am grateful for my young adult daughter who often becomes the family taxi driver, chief in charge of holding things together while I am volunteering at the HS or working for a little extra money. I am also grateful that she listens when I need a listening ear and that we can have fun together. Today, I am grateful she played all those roles… and I got to be both mom and friend.
Now I am about to become a grandmother. The gate will soon swing in a new direction. My role may become less complex, more smooth and singular – at least in the aspect of becoming the best friend of someone new. I bet it turns out Grandma just might be Benjermin’s best friend.
Today I am thankful for motherhood, daughters and best friends all wrapped into one.