I didn't mean to eavesdrop. It couldn't be helped. I was sitting at Panera's having a late morning latte when a trio of friends sat down at a table next to me and started chatting. In my defense, they were using their outside voices--or close to it.
I started picking up on the conversation when one man, a father, started waxing caustic about his son's request to be treated as a "best friend" rather than as the man's son.
"I told him," the dad reported to his captive audiences, "I'm your parent. I'll be your best friend when I can come to your house, open the refrigerator and eat anything I want; when I can drink your milk right out of the carton; when I can sleep over anytime I want; when I can drop by without letting you know; when I can leave without closing the door."
His friends all gave him a fist-bump of an Amen. Given his parade of horribles, I did too, although I did want to turn around and reassure him that his young-adult son was likely to outgrow his juvenile habits; that if he could give his son growing bits of leeway, their relationship would morph from parental disciplinarian to comradely adviser. His son might be chaffing against parental control--isn't that what growing up is all about?--but the dad was fortunate that his son wanted a friendly relationship, even if it was an eventuality. But I kept my comments between me and my latte.