. . . is that children always love their parents but parents often don’t love their children.
No matter how horrible the relationship is, how much abuse and heart-ache there has been, how many years have passed, a child always hopes that one day Mommy will say, “You know, I’m really sorry. I’m sorry for things I have done. I didn’t know any better and I’m sorry” and Daddy will say, “You turned out very well. You are a great human being. Remember how I said that you were a disappointment? That wasn’t true. I said it in anger and I’m sorry.”
Parents, however, often spend years and decades passionately disliking every aspect of their children’s way of being and communicating it to them in excruciating detail. And no amount of “I’m sorry, Mom, Dad, I’m sorry that I can’t be what you want me to be, I’m sorry but this is how I need to do things to remain sane” changes anything.
This happens because when children are small, their parents are always not just people but the people. The most important, crucial human beings whose every angry glare is perceived as the end of the world, whose every rejection confers a feeling of universal loneliness, of being abandoned by God.
For parents, however, the greatest struggle is always to see children as separate human beings. It is hard, indeed. They came out of your body, they were completely dependent on you for a long time. Besides, after everything one sacrifices to bring them into the world and keep them alive and healthy, it’s not unnatural to start expecting something in return. “I gave you life, so I feel it belongs to me,” is a tacit conclusion many parents reach. Seeing their children as people is a feat many parents never manage to perform.
“How can you do something like this to a person?” a daughter asks her mother.
The mother looks at her in bewilderment.
“What person?” she asks with heart-breaking sincerity. “I’m doing it to you. You are not a person. You are my daughter.”
If you have no idea what I’m talking about here, then you should thank your lucky stars, sit quietly in a corner and not comment on something that, for many people, constitutes the greatest tragedy of their existence.