Thank You for NOT Being a Friend; an Open Letter to My Parents

Mr and Mrs BradyDear Mom and Dad,

Thanks for saying ‘no’.

Thanks for setting a curfew. At the time I thought it was ridiculous. Looking back? It seems pretty damn reasonable.

Thanks for following through. Surrendering the keys to my car sucked…but you said it would happen if I did X. I did X. It would sound trite to say I learned my lesson. I would have done X anyway…but I respected the fact that you drew the line and followed through when I crossed it.

Thanks for making sure we had dinner together every night.

Thanks for not choosing my friends or telling me who or who I could hang out with. Thanks for allowing me to come to those conclusions on my own.

Thanks for not paying me for good grades, but expecting them because you knew I was capable.

Thanks for convincing me to take the typing course. I remain unconvinced about the sewing one, but the typing one definitely came in handy.

Thanks for not rescuing me every single time. You taught me how to figure out how to get out of situations myself.

Thanks for respecting age limits. Sure, I was pissed when you wouldn’t let me see The Breakfast Club because it was rated R and yes, I went to see it anyway….but by making me wait to do things it made me appreciate them more, and it made me realize you cared about not letting me grow up too fast too soon.Mr and Mrs C

Thanks for having expectations that were high, but achievable. You expected me to do well and by default I never doubted I could.

Thanks for having your own ideals, but not forcing them on me after a certain age. I know I gave you a lot of shit at the time, but I respect it now.
Thanks for letting me screw up and make mistakes.

Thanks for not buying me everything I wanted. It’s true I still carry a grudge about the Jordache jeans. And the skateboard. But you taught me the importance of working for something, of saving, of the pleasure that comes from accomplishing a goal, no matter if it’s a pair of jeans or an Xbox. You taught me I shouldn’t expect something simply because I want it.

Thanks for letting me express myself and not freaking out when I shaved the side of my head with the clippers I found in the medicine cabinet.

Thanks for always asking who I was going out with, whose car I was riding in, whose house I was going to be at.

Thanks for indulging some angst-y teenage behavior but not letting it get out of control.

Thanks for demanding a respect for adults, from teachers to relatives to the woman working behind the counter at the grocery store.

Mr and Mrs KeatonThanks for trusting me. It made me think twice about everything I did, every decision I made. Because you trusted me, I trusted myself to make the right ones. Not every single time, but more times than not.

In a kind of anti-Golden Girls way, thank you for not being a friend. At least not until I was an adult myself.

You’ll thank me later, you said. No I won’t, I said. And yet here we are.

Thanks for not saying I told you so.



12 Comments Add yours

  1. Reblogged this on A Simple, Village Undertaker and commented:
    A great reminder of the difference between “parents” and “friends”. Well said and with a few, minor details changed, I think I’ll copy and send it to my parents. . . even though they are in their mid-80’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dina Honour says:

      Thanks! I’m sure you’re parents would appreciate a thanks so matter how old they are–especially if it involves a thinly veiled ‘you were right’ 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Easy to do as they read my blog 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Anonymous says:

    Love it. 👍

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Anonymous says:

    Now I can thank you for being my friend, love you


    1. Dina Honour says:

      I love you too…someone.


  4. urbanmanusa says:

    My parents were too often plain mean in the name of “discipline”. And often times phrases such as “you’ll appreciate it more if you earn it yourself” were nothing but a lame failed attempt to cover smelly cheapskate-ism. It doesn’t bug me to the level of needing therapy, meds, etc, but it does linger. Parents need to remember their children will carry memories into adulthood, and keep in mind what legacy they want.


    1. Dina Honour says:

      It’s really, really hard to remember that in the day to day moments of parenting! OFten they’re the things that cause you to wake gasping for breath in the middle of the night panicking that whatever you’re doing is well and truly fucking your kids up in some fundamental way. I think parenting is very, very different today than it was even 30 years ago–for starters it’s become a verb as well as a noun, but we are so much more ‘aware’ of every thing we do to/for/with/at our kids these days–and worry accordingly. Not everyone had a stellar childhood, I’m rather painfully reminded of that whenever I do a post about my own parents. I was lucky, and feel lucky that at least my mother is still alive and able to appreciate my appreciation.


  5. Me parents pretty much gave us kids free reign on almost everything. We could climb on the roof, dig for treasure in the garden, jump on the couches in our Pippi Longstocking inspired games. And when we became teenagers our house became a party house on the weekend. My best friend’s parents were a lot stricter. She had to be in at 9, needed to tell her parents where she was, could not just go to the cinema etc. Sometimes my parents’ attitude felt like indifference – especially when I saw the tight reign my friend’s parents held. But my parents were not my friends. During his dying days my father told me that it had been a deliberate strategy, in the Summerhill School tradition, underpinned by a serious child development philosophy. Both my parents were teachers and it was the 1970s. We trust you to know what is best, an experiment in selfdirected learning. It turns out they were always there in the background observing our behaviour, knowing what we were up to, worrying if they should step in. Sometimes they did, if they became concerned for our safety. IF I could thank them I would. Now I can only make sure my own kids know that, in spite of me emulating my own free-spirited upbringing that can feel like indifference, I love them for the wonderful young men they are.

    Thanks for sharing, Dina.


    1. Dina Honour says:

      We had free reign…outside–definitely not inside. It’s so funny how there is always one ‘party’ house (it doesn’t even have to house parties, just the house that everyone gathers at). It sounds like your parents ‘experiment’ paid off, in many ways.


  6. urbanmanusa says:

    On a lighter note, I feel the need to add some comments on your pictures of the ideal TV parents. The Dad on the Brady Bunch was in real life gay and died prematurely likely from aids. The Mom on Family Ties is also in real life gay. Related, many members of Happy Days joined up and sued CBS, claiming they had been jipped out of their share of money made on merchandising. After years in the courts, a settlement was reached.


    1. Dina Honour says:

      Would you believe me if I told you the Brady one was on purpose? (It was). When I chose them initially it was because they were the television families I grew up with. And then I started to think about how non-diverse (un-diverse?)–homogenous–the television families I grew up with were. I got a little chuckle including Mr. Brady because Robert Reed was gay, though he played straight on tv. And then of course Meredith Baxter Birney followed. I had a few other in mind though I drew the line at including Bill Cosby–


Talk to me, Goose.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.