Instead of talks, or eulogies, family members had the opportunity to stand and talk about this man who had made an impression on them. Dan's uncle said something that really struck me, "He wasn't my friend, he was my father." Of course he was referring to the discipline he received over the years, but it still hit me with a resounding "ah-ha."
I am very lucky in the fact that I do have a friendship with both of my parents, as well as the parent/child relationship that has always been there. No, it wasn't always that way, but as I've grown up and matured, so has our connections. That being said, I can truly say that when I was growing up, my parents were parents and not my friends. They were responsible for me and my actions and made sure that I towed the line.
I see so many individuals these days that are looking for that "friendship" factor in their relationships with their teenagers, that they are willing to sacrifice the parenting role. I see it at the mall when shopping for clothes. A mom and daughter start out by looking at the racks of shirts, and the daughter gravitates to the low cut, or midriff baring style. A mother who is trying to be the "friend" will squeal in delight and not once mention modesty or offer something more appropriate. They lock arms after purchasing the shirt and head off to the food court. Anything to avoid the confrontation and contention associated with making right choices.
It is a very fine line, that must be trod by parents today. I look at my own daughter and wonder how I'm going to do it when she reaches puberty and notices boys for the first time. How does one be accessible and approachable, all the while being the parent of a hormone-racked teen?
What better tribute can we ask for than that of "She was my mother?" Isn't that exactly what we signed up for when we opened up our wombs for these precious gifts? I think we all aspire to the hope that our children will like us as well as love us. I know that I do. I crave those times when my children will snuggle up to my side and whisper covertly into my ear that they love me. I know that there are days when they don't like me, and that is the joy of unconditional love!
I hope and pray that someday I will be friends with my children as well as their mother, but for now, I'm going to remember that the most important thing I can do for them is to be the parent. The parent who teaches, loves, inspires, comforts, and does so much more. I am mother, hear me roar!