There are several days each year where we as a generation revert back to our most basic selves. And today is one such day. Today, as those of you who have a calendar or who are remotely involved with social media know, is Father’s Day. And over the past 21 years I’ve made some observations about my generation and about the tradition that is Father’s Day each year.
If you have loving parents in today’s society odds are that they fit into one of two categories. They are either your “best friends” or your “heroes.” And never is this more apparent than on Father’s Day and Mother’s Day each year. Because, in today’s society, social media demands that you post a photo glorifying your parents as your “best friend” or your “hero” on these days each year. It’s been my experience that mothers are usually best friends and fathers are usually heroes. This isn’t always the case though, and maybe this judgement is a little gender specific. But it is the absolute truth that every single person in today’s generation with mildly loving and kind parents will call his or her parents his or her best friend or hero.
I don’t know about you, but my parents aren’t my best friends. And before I come across as some unfeeling robot, I should say that I love my parents a lot. They help me in so many ways and they love me unconditionally. They are responsible for teaching me almost everything I know. I was in the park the other day and I was walking behind a father and son as the father attempted to teach the son how banks and ATMs work. In that moment I thought, Damn. My parents taught me about banks and ATMs, they taught me how to send a letter, the difference between trash and recycling and how to do my laundry. Parents teach you EVERYTHING. But they aren’t my best friends.
I’ll never talk to my dad about the time I puked in my bathroom the morning after St. Patty’s Day and I will never tell him about my sex life. This will just never happen. These are the kinds of things I share with my best friends. In fact, I usually don’t have to share these stories with them, because most of them were there for them. There are no secrets between real best friends, because you spend too much time together to ever keep anything a secret.
So why must everyone insist that their parents are their best friends? If you go on Facebook or Instagram today or on Mother’s Day you will see a million old photos of your friends with their parents when they were younger. The caption: “The best friend and mom a girl could have!” But my parents are not my best friends. I can’t Snapchat my mom and dad because they don’t know how to use it, they don’t want to take shots with me on Friday night, and they don’t really care about the bitch from my psychology class that sat in my seat last week. Well maybe they care in that general way that I care about the Documentary category at the Academy Awards that I have to hear about while I wait for them to announce Best Picture. But they have other things to worry about, to think about and to interest them.
I love my parents more than life itself, and in so many ways they are my heroes. They raised me and provided for me and are always looking out for me. But people use the term “hero” way too frequently when it comes to their parents. Let’s loosen up with it, people. It’s okay for your parents just to be parents. They don’t have to be your best friend or your hero, and they don’t have to be perfect. They are humans and they too puked in the bathroom the morning after St. Patty’s Day. (Okay, well maybe they didn’t, I don’t know your parents. But they definitely have had their “whoopsies.”)
So everyone relax. In fact, the more you use those phrases the less genuine it seems. You don’t need to call them your heroes or your best friends just to prove you love them. And you don’t need to post it on social media to prove that it’s true. It’s okay for your parents to just be parents.