My brother and I are the beneficiaries of all her hard work. When we left for college, she told us that she didn't want to get in the way of our independence, so she would never call us, though we could call whenever we wanted. The result is me on the other end of the phone asking about spoiled chicken. And my mother talking about her latest depressing novel, or expensive cheese, or someone she's met and sized up perfectly, revealing herself as a full person in the way her own mother never did.
So, yes, my mother and I are "friends," but not in the way my friends and I are friends. Even if one day my mother discovers how to use Google chat, she will never be my peer. As I get older, I look to her for solutions less and less. But knowing that she's there to answer questions is an irreplaceable comfort.
This piece also appears in Double X.