My mom is not my best friend. She has reassured me of that since I was little. "I'm not here to be your friend," was repeated whenever I tried to get away with something I shouldn't have or go somewhere I had no business going.
Do not confuse this with my mom being any less wonderful, any less appreciated, or any less loved than all the moms who try their hardest to be their daughters or sons friend.
In fact, I'd argue that it makes her the best, most appreciated, and most loved.
My mom has always been tough on my siblings and I but in the best way. She's held us to high standards that I am now just becoming overwhelming grateful for. She is comfortable with the word "no," and somehow always knows right from wrong, even when the lines are ambiguous and fuzzy. She is, quite simply, the strongest woman I know.
My mom and I laugh together, as best friends do. We go on Panera dates and get our nails done together, just as best friends do. And she encourages me to go after anything that will fuel my happiness, as a best friend does.
However, behind my siblings and my safety, my mom's main priority is assuring her children are good people with loving hearts, as she is. She has taught me to give unrequitedly, love passionately, and to always be the bigger person.
She has taught me that it is okay to fail, the emphasis is on the grace of your return. She has comforted me when necessary and thoughtfully showed me the error of my ways when I've made a mistake that I was not wise enough to notice at the time.
The greatest thing my mother has done for me is having the courage to be a mother.
She has played the bad cop, knowing that fights and anger would erupt. She fought through the tough times of raising three children, she said "no" when necessary, and she showed us the other side of things when we were unwilling to listen. All of this was carried out with strength and the understanding that she was forming three humans that would be genuinely good people.
My mom was (and is) wise enough to comprehend that she was creating a girl that would someday be the best version of herself, with an open mind and generous heart.
So, while my mother was not my best friend that idly adopted a strategy of appeasement and let me do whatever I pleased, she is the best mother in the fact that no one could love their children as much and no one could go through motherhood and the shaping of three humans as gracefully or as courageously.
The only thing left to say is "thank you," for preparing me to take on a beautiful world and for being strong enough to sometimes say "no."