Who’s your best friend?
It was an unexpected question.
I raised one eyebrow.
So my husband went on, Well, who would you say knows and understands you best?
. . . I mean, apart from me? he added.
My best girlfriend? Wow.
I hadn’t thought in those terms in a very long time. Growing up, that was a very easy question—always and undoubtedly, Amy, my true-blue BFF. We were inseparable . . . .
But that kind of thing was in my childhood and I’m all grown up today.
So what girl do I run to share my heart with now?
I paused to think about that one. While I’m thankful for a number of dear and close friends…who would be the first I’d go to?
The answer was sitting right in the other room.
That would be my three older daughters. Hands down. I share just about everything with them.
Yes, we’re definitely Besties.
So how does a daughter grow up to be your best-friend?
Accept – even embrace – her very own unique qualities.
Don’t expect her to be just like you. As mothers, we can be rather taken aback when a girl, our very own girl birthed out of our very own bodies, can be so different than ourselves. And it can bother us. Or even hurt our feelings. We somehow want her to be created in our image, rather than in her Creator’s image.
I believe this expectation is often the biggest barrier to a relationship between a mother and daughter. So if your daughter turns out to be surprisingly unlike you, that’s okay! Rejoice in the gift that she is and seek for common interests . . . and even stretch yourself to enjoy her interests which might be different than your own.
Help her understand that you’re a real person.
As my girls started getting older, I began to communicate that I’m not only a mommy – I’m a real person with thoughts, feelings, and interests of mine own.
This can be a strange concept to a child who initially (and rightfully) considers you only as someone who is there to love and meet her needs. Yet as she matures, I want her to start thinking of me as a woman too. I might do this by sharing an excerpt from a book I’m enjoying, or talk about a project which I find exciting, or mention something that’s made me happy or sad.
Spend tons of time together – working and playing.
Don’t merely love your daughter by serving her. Love her enough to pull her into your world and work together to get things done. It’s strangely bonding when women accomplish something together, don’t you think? I love grabbing a girl or two and diving into a kitchen project or a cleaning job. Before we know it, we’re laughing and talking and having a wonderful time.
But we enjoy having special times together too. When the girls were young we had a weekly evening where we all worked on a craft. Now that the girls are older, we have tea-time nearly every day. It’s usually a pleasant time to catch-up with each other, but occasionally a chance to talk through an issue. This is Girl Time.
You’re her dear friend, but not her buddy.
I treasure the friendship of my girls. But that doesn’t make us “buddies”. In other words, I don’t appreciate being spoken to or treated in a manner that suggests I’m one of her peers. Friendship notwithstanding, she needs to show me the respect due me as her mother. Sometimes she might start to get a bit cheeky or a little too palsy-walsy and I’ll remind her that she still gets to honor me, even if we are friends.
Bring Dad in when you can’t work it out.
So if I’m a woman. And she’s a woman. And we both have emotions running strong – what then?
More than once, I’ve asked my husband to step in and help us out. It might be because I’ve lost perspective or have been so offended that I can’t seem to “rise above” it. At that point, I’m particularly grateful for his steady nature and clear mind to set her (or me!) straight again. His involvement has been invaluable during those times when feminine passions are soaring at an all-time high.
Building a friendship with your daughter is one of the most lovely rewards a mother can enjoy. You only have to walk into the room and she intuitively understands what’s behind your smile. Or quietly gives you that little hug when you’re down.
What a blessing to have your Bestie(s) right in your very own home!
In His grace,
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