97: My Dearest Friends

97: My Dearest Friends

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just Us Girls

My Dearest Friends

A daughter is a little girl who grows up to be a friend.

~Author Unknown

I’ve watched two of my dearest friends grow up. I’ve laughed and cried at their antics. I caught them when they stumbled, taught them that rolling their eyes was rude, and shared my love of books with them.

My daughters, Lacey and Carina, have become my daughter-friends.

This new relationship wasn’t planned. It’s blossomed over the years.

I think it started during a shopping trip. I edged out of the dressing room, tugging uncomfortably at a shirt that should have fit me. Carina, my eighteen-year-old fashionista, wasn’t very subtle. She yawned.

Lacey, three years older and more sensitive, said, “Mom, it looks like everything else you own. Why not try something different?”

Carina put her hands on her hips. Her Old Navy checked shorts and coordinated top were perfect. “Mom. Definitely not. Next.”

I slunk back into the dressing room. I heard Lace whispering something to her sister. I caught the words “be gentle.”

They rejected all of my choices and picked a much more trendy outfit than I was used to wearing. The message was clear. Mom’s taste was boring. Theirs wasn’t.

That was the beginning of the change.

From clothes to relationships, the girls aired their opinions, advised me about dating, and stepped all into my business. Our roles had expanded. Friendship means being honest, loving, and loyal. My girls embodied all those characteristics and more.

One fall, my best friend, Sharon, and her husband invited me to Ohio for a long weekend, but all I could think of were bills. We were all caught up, but single moms always worry. I didn’t think we could afford it.

Lacey watched me mope around the apartment all day. She and Carina disappeared into their small bedroom. I wanted to call Sharon, but I couldn’t bear her disappointment. Tomorrow, I’d call.

“Mom,” Lacey stood in my doorway. Arms crossed in front of her, mustering her fiercest frown. “Tomorrow morning, you’re going to be on the 8:00 a.m. bus. You’ll be in Pittsburg by 2:30. Rina’s packing your bag. No arguments.”

“Honey, what are you talking about?” I put down the book that I’d been pretending to read. “I told you that I wasn’t going. We can’t afford it. Who’s going keep an eye on you?”

Rina nudged her sister aside. She rarely wasted time arguing. She operated with the motto, “Make your point and move on.”

“Mom. Tough love time. You deserve a break, and you’re getting one. Bus tickets are cheap, so we bought you one. We asked Dad to help. He owes you big time ’cause we turned out so well.” Her grin softened the words.

“Yeah,” Lacey said. “We’re over eighteen. We’re grown-ups, even if we still act like kids sometimes. So, we’ll be alright by ourselves.”

She and Carina exchanged that mysterious sister look that I’d intercepted over the years.

It meant they had a plan.

“Listen, this is very sweet, but you’re college students. You need to save your money for books and things.” I couldn’t believe they’d engineered all this. I was the mom. I decided who got vacations and how money was spent, right?

“Since you’ve always given us rules to live by, we made a list of rules for you.” The two giggled, just like they were little kids about to get into mischief.

Lace cleared her throat: “Rules for Mom’s How Stella Got Her Groove Back Weekend. One. Call us when you get there and when you’re about to leave, just like we have to.”

Rina read the next rule. “Two. Don’t do anything you’ll regret in the morning. Remember, you’ll have to tell us everything, ’cause we’ll find out the truth.”

“Three. No bringing back a guy as young as us. You’re not really Stella.”

“Four. Have fun. When was the last time you had fun, Mom?” That question floored me. Maybe I’d thought they wouldn’t notice my lack of social life.

To say that I was in awe would be an understatement. I hugged these two young women whom I’d raised and worried over, realizing that they were worried about me. I loved them more every single day.

I visited Sharon, lived by the rules, and had a great time. My daughters continue to fascinate and delight me, and their friendship means everything.

Having daughter-friends is an unexpected perk to being a mom. I’m very fortunate.

~Karla Brown

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