Growing up in my household, there were clear-cut lines defining parent-child relationships. My mother, a firm believer in traditional Black values, was the enforcer of rules. My father, on the other hand, often played the role of the indulgent parent, which made me favor him in many situations rather than my mother. She and I often bumped heads because I wasn’t close to her and why would I be? Every time we interacted I ended up getting yelled at.

Although my mother and I had our differences, I was often drawn to the laughter and camaraderie that seemed to flow effortlessly among the adults, particularly my mother and her friends. Despite my longing to join in their conversations, I was frequently reminded that I wasn’t one of their “little friends.” However, as I reached the milestone of 21, everything changed.

Transitioning the Relationship with My Mom

Alcohol was a common denominator in our family gatherings, not because of any dependency issues but rather as a social conduit. My mother would often inform me of best practices when it comes to drinking while adamantly forbidding any underage indulgence. Yet, beneath her strict demeanor, I sensed a subtle anticipation for the day I would be of legal drinking age. 

When that day finally arrived, she planned a rather large celebration with family and friends. Her eyes sparkled with excitement as she ordered my first legal drink. It was then that I realized I was crossing a threshold in her eyes by transitioning from child to adult. This holds true seeing as she was married and pregnant around my same age at the time.  

With the barrier of age finally lifted, my mother and I embarked on a journey of newfound closeness. Our bonding moments were no longer confined to familial obligations but rather revolved around shared bottles of wine and candid conversations. 

Our discussions spanned the spectrum, from frivolous celebrity gossip to the weightier matters of life, including personal struggles and familial tensions. It was during one of these heart-to-heart exchanges that I accidentally let out a curse word in frustration. I expected a reprimand to quickly follow. Instead, my mother’s reaction surprised me. She simply continued the conversation, treating me as an equal rather than a subordinate.

My Mom is One of my “Little Friends”

As the years passed, our relationship deepened even further. After I moved out of my parents’ home, daily phone calls became our lifeline. Our conversations lasted anywhere between 5 minutes to 2 hours but it was important that we checked in with each other daily. 

Eight years later, I find myself in awe of the transformation that has occurred. My mother, once the authoritative figure of my childhood, has become one of my closest confidantes. She is a companion whose wisdom and warmth I cherish beyond measure. Amidst our laughter and shared secrets, she has, in fact, become one of my “little friends.” But shh, don’t tell her I said that!