For me, one of the best parts of growing up has been becoming friends with my parents. No longer the curfew enforcers or the name on my phone bill (or any bills for that matter!), in the past couple of years, my parents and I have eased into a friendship of differing opinions, overlapping movie tastes, and the inevitable love-induced growing pains.
But back up, who are these people you ask?
Despite them looking nothing alike, I somehow look incredibly similar to both of my parents. When I stand next to my dad, the Lanning nose and smiley-eyes are most apparent, our shared sense of humor and all-consuming laughs taking center stage in our conversations. But when I’m with my mum, her blonde hair such a contrast against my darker features, our identical smiles and round faces clear up any confusion if we’re related. We can talk for hours on the phone and continue to find ourselves the most amusing people we know.
When my dad came to visit in January, we ended every night chatting over a beer. This was the longest time we’d ever spent just the two of us as we crammed into my Brooklyn apartment with two cats and a salsa music obsessed neighbor. It wasn’t that I thought we’d have a hard time traveling together, my Dad is super great, but I was shocked at the incredible ease we shared — an ease that takes work and understanding and acceptance and much to his dismay, communication. The same goes with my mum.
I feel such a deep sense of gratitude for my parents. I know it couldn’t have been easy to learn I’d decided to pursue English and Journalism. That I planned to work in sexual assault and dating violence prevention and teach sex education. To talk about boyfriends and boundaries and alcohol-induced mistakes. To know that at any dinner party, I’d probably end up talking about the importance of consent and without hesitation shut down any offensive comment. And it couldn’t be easy to get back on that plane to LA after moving me across the country.
More than appreciation for our friendship, I am in awe of my parents. For how they share every single article I write and talk so frequently with their friend’s about my work in violence prevention that they’ve become activists themselves.
I am privileged to be on the receiving end of their unconditional love. They’re my tribe, and damn, are they a good one.