I’m not particularly interested in being friends with my children. Not now, when they are still so young. I believe there is a place for me in their lives and right now they need a parent who loves them without condition.
That said, I really want to be friends with them when they are young adults and onwards. These days I see relationships of co-operative housework, childrearing, and meal preparation between my friends and their mothers and they are clearly enjoying their time together — it is much more than putting in requisite family time.
Last week a girlfriend and I were having coffee and watching in wonder as our youngest daughters, 4 and 5 respectively, played.
“I wonder if she’s going to love me like she does right now when she’s older,” I mused aloud. Flooded with memories of our own teenage years, we both snorted with laughter.
But the question hung in the air and as our mugs were drained we chatted about the possibilities and what would be necessary to maintain that intense heart connection we both experience with our young children.
Many women — and men — who have trod on this ground before us may already know the answer, but for me… well, all I can really do is hypothesize and hope. After all, I know just as many adult children who have dynamic and loving relationships with their parents as I do those who are barely able to be in the same room.
And then my girlfriend shared a recollection of a mother-daughter duo that really hit home for me. The girl, now a teen, was an avid Nordic skier and mom had picked up the sport when her daughter was in lessons. Together they progressed and gained skills.
In the lodge, according to my friend, the two of them seemed like “the best of friends, like business partners,” the way they riffed on each other in conversation. They shared a common language and no one in the room was more important. Assuming this was in fact a healthy relationship not impeding on other healthy relationships, I cannot imagine a better experience to share with my girls as they get older.
What did it come down to? They both really enjoyed an activity — in this case cross-country skiing — a lot. And they do it together often. You can see it in other families who pursue activities like sailing, hiking, cooking or baking, and yes, even shopping.
This time together builds connection and relationship. It provides a foundation for which other elements can build upon — such as trust and reliance. This isn’t the only way, but it seems like one that can offer an experience of fun and an element of joy. And who doesn’t want that?
I recently went cross-country skiing with my eldest daughter’s class and though I hadn’t been in 27 years, I loved it — so much so that for my birthday last week I received a new ski kit. Looks like we may have found our sport.
Kirsten Andrews offers courses, workshops and private consultations on Simplicity Parenting in the corridor. For information like Sea to Sky Simplicity Parenting on Facebook, visit www.SeaToSkySimplicityParenting.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.