Recently, a very high-profile actress received a standing ovation for her comments as she accepted an award. Well intended comments, in fact I would say heartfelt, but a close friend caught something that seemed to slip by with all of the accolades, perhaps not intended to be what it seemed. Speaking of her mother she stated, “in her ‘80s she said to me, ‘I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything.’ And it was so not right. And I feel like what I’ve learned from this whole experience is, women, we’re nurturers, that’s what’s expected of us. We have our children, we have our husbands if we’re lucky enough, and our partners. But we have to find personal fulfillment. We have to follow our dreams.”

I would argue that for many women choosing “to follow their dreams” may be to be a mother and that we as women need to applaud that choice as much as we do a woman being elected a Senator or CEO. In past eras, a woman was expected to have an either/or relationship, a working woman or a mother. Thankfully that is no longer the expectation.

The word “relationship” is defined as “a strong, deep, or close association or acquaintance between two or more people that may range in duration from brief to enduring.” These relationships might be between friends, co-workers or family. Being the mother of three sons, I think back to how our relationships have evolved. In the beginning, they were totally dependent upon me for everything. Later as toddlers, they began the “I can do it myself stage” when in reality they usually ended up needing at least my assistance. In time, they really could do most things by themselves and I became more of a nurturer and advisor.

Around the teenage stage, some parents choose the relationship of “friend” to override that of “parent.” It works for some while not for others. In truth, as much fun as it may seem, not all children want to lose the parent who can still guide and lead as life and temptations become even stronger during these years. The relationship needs balance to be successful. In time, some relationships shift from the parent in the lead to a child needing to take lead, it is a simple fact of nature. Many times, a parent’s illness or mental ability can require the relationship to switch roles, not always easy for either, but necessary.

We can have close relationships with friends, co-workers, neighbors, really anyone so long as there is give and take between the two. Mothers and children may not be blood kin, but someone who “chose” the role of mother or grandmother and vice versa, someone who “adopts” a mother or grandmother. Regardless how the relationship came to be, a good one is a priceless gift; one that can last a lifetime.