Because I’m your friend.

“Because I’m your friend.”

Hey, Baby Boy.

I get to call you that because you’re still too young to argue with me. And that makes you my baby. And I have this idea in my head about babies. About children. About the little people that we raise to become big people.

A lot of that idea is centered around the fact that I am religious and that part of my faith I hold most dear is that you, sweet Boy, are not just a boy: you’re a spiritual being whose creation was bigger than your Mom and Dad falling in love and having a baby.

There’s more to you than flesh. You are more than your body.

You are your hopes and dreams and hurts. You are your experiences and your fears and your spirit. You are your imagination and your soul.

I am not your Creator.

I am your Guardian.

And that’s a role I don’t take lightly.

Some call it “mother.”

Some say “parent.”

But to me neither word is enough.

To me I am your teacher, your comforter, your ally, your therapist, your disciplinarian, your pastor, your confessor.

And if I juggle all of them the best I can and if I try my hardest then maybe, just maybe, one day you will call me “friend.”

And that’s the highest honor I can ask of you.

Because these other roles, these hats I juggle and responsibilities I shoulder, you didn’t give them to me.

You didn’t hire me for the job.

You didn’t have a say in who would be your Momma.

You didn’t choose me.

One of the most beautiful things that I’ve learned being your Momma is that, if I had every beautiful child in the world to choose from, I would still choose you.

But what choice do you have?

I pick your first friends and your hairstyles and your clothes and your home and your diet – no wait, you choose that actually – and I choose your childhood religion and the direction I hope you will go as you grow up.

I get to help you become the kind of man I think belongs in this world.

I get to show you the world through my eyes.

I mean, how many kids have moms act out Danny Kaye monologues in the living room?

I shape you.

Your choices will come later.

They will be the final factors in who you become, but I am your impetus.

I did not create you but I do build your foundation.

I do.

So as I think about you and my responsibilities to you I also think about adult-you and those choices you will make one day.

And I think about the popular, well-worn phrase “I’m not your friend, I’m your parent.”

And it hurts the tender places in my heart that your existence has filled to overflowing.

Because, my sweet Baby Boy, the choice that you can make that would mean the most to me in this life is that you would choose to call me your friend.

That you would stand before me as a grown man with a stubbly beard and a deep voice and say I am, and have always been, your friend.

So I do my best to treat you as my friend today.

To be the person you would choose to talk to and look up to and learn from TODAY.

To be the person I hope one day you will be proud of me for being.

I know I’m your mother.

Parent.

But I did nothing to earn those roles.

I want to be your friend, too. To earn your friendship.

So I set up some ground rules for myself.

They are my promise to you.

My contract as your Guardian.

My outline for the shaping of you as the man I am raising.

And I pray that through it I do you justice,

My Son.

My Baby Boy.

One day my equal.

Every day my friend.

I PROMISE:

1. When you cry I will comfort you. And I will teach you when crying heals and when it is manipulation.

Because if you are hurt or sad or lonely or even if you just want to be comforted, then of all the things I can give you in this life, comforting you is the most important.

Because I want you to be the kind of man who comforts others.

But I also want you to be the kind of man who understands the different types of tears.

So that you know when to comfort someone.

And when to step back.

2.  When you come up with a hair-brained scheme I usually won’t go along with it. But I will negotiate with you for a better plan we can both agree on.

Because I don’t want you doing what everyone else does and I don’t want you doing every crazy thing that occurs to you, but I do want you to be comfortable with negotiation and I do want you to have fun.

So remind me tell you about mattresses on the barn roof.

Yes, really.

3. I will do my best to guide you and to show you the kind of man I want you to be, but I will not be the dictator of your life.

Because I do not want you dictating others.

4. When you lie I will call you on it.

And then I will teach you how to tell the truth and I will comfort you as you face your mistakes.

Because I want you to be the kind of man who is not afraid to own his wrongs.

5. When you frustrate me and I feel like hitting a wall or pulling my hair or throwing something or crying I will look at you and remember that your very existence is a miracle.

And I will tell you.

Because I want you to be the kind of man who sees the miracle in life.

And who knows how to contain his frustrations and not take them out on the innocent.

6.  When I believe you are wrong I will tell you. And I will teach you what I believe is right.

7. When I believe you are being hurtful I will tell you. And I will teach you how to be kind by example.

8. When you have given up all hope and your heart is broken, I will tell you about my heart and show you how much hurt it can bear and how strong it is and how any hole it has can be filled.

Because all a heart needs is someone to love.

9. When you are cruel to an animal or a friend I will stop you and teach you how to make amends without humiliating you.

Because an apology borne out of humiliation doesn’t mend anything.

10. I will love you.

When I yell at you. And when I apologize. When I play with you. When I am too busy to play with you. When I promise. When I forget my promise. Or make a promise I couldn’t keep. When I remember this contract. When I forget it entirely. When I am reminded of it and when it rushes over me with the weight of all that it means and all that you are and all that you can and may be.

When I go to sleep at night. When I wake up in the morning.

Because, I’m not just your parent.

I’m your friend.

I’m your first friend.

I’m your truest friend.

And because I’m not just your friend,

I’m your parent.


#SpectrumMom

P.S.

Pic of me and you.

When you really were a baby.

Your Friend

10 comments

  1. Mother… is the word… 150% 😊
    Your words are just pure love. They resonate with me and with all the mums out there, because we are just in love with our little kids.
    I am.. I am head over heels ..full of the deepest unconditional love with my little guy, my sweet baby son and the more he needs me the more I love him.
    I believe something bigger than me, bigger than us chose me for the role.. I believe that despite the struggles and the tears this mighty being knows I have the strength and the ability to love and protect this little boy and that’s why I became his mum..
    And it’s that love .. Your love for yours & the love for mine that resonate between us…. you speak your words and I feel your love for your kid …it makes me want to love my kids even more… THANK YOU amazing woman, friend, MOTHER ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have such beautiful words. Isn’t it amazing how sharing our love for our kids can connect us? It is just as easy to rejoice together as it is to commiserate together, but ever so much more powerful.

      Thank you for loving your boy so much. You are making the world a better place ❤

      Like

    1. I hope so, too! I know like every emotion love will fluctuate. But I pray it is the primary emotion we feel and always the first choice when we have the opportunity and ability to choose. ❤

      Like

  2. My promise to my son is this: I promise that we will make it through these early days; we will learn together what works, what doesn’t, and when it changes we will adjust together. I promise that you can sleep in my room whenever your fears are too much, and in my bed if that’s what it takes to get you the rest you so desperately need. I promise to provide the best care I can and find the best therapists to provide the care I can’t. I promise to be your rock, your shelter, in this crazy world when it’s too much for you. But above all I promise to always love you for you, enjoy your unique personality and all of your quirks. Because in the end, my life is not complete without you and your brother~ the best pieces of me now walk beside me and hold my hand, and I wouldn’t change a thing about you. Love forever!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. To my 14 year old daughter with Autism:

    I promise that you will always have a home, a place that is your own, here with me, for as long as I live.

    I promise to teach you to shop, to cook your own meals, to clean up the kitchen. Starting today.

    I promise that when you decide that boys aren’t ‘icky’ anymore that I will do everything in my power to protect you from being taken advantage of, emotionally and physically.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I promise to all of my children ( 3 girls, our middle girl has autism), to try my very best to not ask of them what I would not be willing to do. To show them honesty and compassion so they can be honest and compassionate. To be brave and strong when all I want to do Is cry and sleep. To show them women are men’s equals and we don’t have to depend on them to do things or to feel safe and complete. I will show them the fun beautiful simple things like driving through the country in the fall to look at all the colors in the trees. I will show them how beautiful and wonderful each of them are individually, that there is no need to be like anyone else. To take in inspiration and make it their own. To appreciate everything they have all the people who love them. And that I always, always , have their backs. They will always have a safe place to turn to.

    Ps I want them to call me friend too

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My promise to my little guy is to love him for who he is and not who everyone wants and expects him to be. I promise to let him draw 75 of the exact same veggie tales screen shot and cut out each and every of the 1000+ tiny drawings he has made. I promise to be beside him when the world is too big or two much and he can’t get his head hugs on fast enough. I promise to make sure to sit down with every teacher and aide that will come in contact with him and equip them for when I can’t be there. I promise to be his safe place and to hold him when all he can do is chew on his fingers. I promise to love him unconditionally.

    Liked by 1 person

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