Monday, May 16, 2016

Friendship is Hard

It's hard sometimes to be friend with your child's friend's parents.

I get along really well with S. We have such a good time together and have really deep conversations that I don't have with many other of my close friends. She is open about her life - abuse in her childhood and it's impact on her life now, the failure of her marriage, and pretty much anything other topic. And she makes me more open and vulnerable, which is something I am not used to being.

But then there's her relationship with her daughter (whom I adore, it must be said).

I am close with my daughter. We spend a lot of time together, whether it's out and about or just hanging around the house, we are tied at the hip. And I love that, because I know in another year or two, that may all change as puberty and teen angst kick in full force. I'd have her around me all the time if I could because I really enjoy her company and she is a cool kid.

With that said...there's such a thing as too close. Or maybe its more that despite me adoring my daughter and wanting very much for her to be happy all the time, I have no intention of letting her run the show. I'm the mom, I'm the adult, I make the decisions. I hear her out and listen to her concerns, but ultimately she needs to follow direction from me and not the other way around. We are not equals and I don't acquiesce to her desires.

My friend does this. Her daughter runs the show all the time. We went on vacation with them about a month ago and all S wanted to do was look for shells. We were in shell heaven down in Captiva, and all S talked about for months was finding shells. The day arrives and we have plans to go shelling (well, for the rest of them to go shelling and for me to sit on the beach and safely bronze myself). S changes her mind and says she is going to take her daughter shopping for a dress. Keep in mind that our resort was alllll the way at the end of Captiva, so to get to the mainland, you had to drive through all of Captiva and then all of Sanibel and over the bridge back to Fort Meyers....about 45 minutes or so, just to get back to civilization, and then find a store to shop in. So S gave up her day of shelling to take M shopping instead of doing what she had been most looking forward to.

This past Saturday, we had the kids attend a gymnastics night so we could go out. The thing ran from 5-9pm, so when we picked up the kids it was barely 9pm. On a Saturday night. On our way to get them, we had been talking about them coming back to my house for cocktails - I had been dying to make a Cinnamon Toast Crunch, with Fireball and Rum Chata, and this seemed like a great opportunity to do it. Our girls are night owls so 9pm is no stretch for them to be out. We make plans and then drop them off at their house so they can get their own car to come over and let their dog out. Ten minutes later comes the text: M just wants to stay home so we are going to pass this time. So they didn't come over. S wanted to. The girls were having fun together. M just gets moody sometimes and wants to be alone (like she is at the point where instead of sitting together to read or whatever, M will tell her mom to leave the room and sit elsewhere so she can be alone! What?!) so S catered to her and they didn't come over, despite our plans.

I love S. She is among my best friends and someone I love spending time with. We can talk and talk for hours and it is never strained or weird. We can talk about politics and race and our childhoods and also about sex and parental gossip and fashion. But I am struggling so much with her blind acquiescence to her daughter. It impacts our friendship and it will also impact M - never being told no and never being made to do something you don't want to do is no way to learn about the real world.

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