I do have a love-hate relationship with you. Even now that you are dead, I still find myself detesting you, or praising you, for what I have become.
This is not an original idea, but children are the greatest projects of their parents. For those who chose not to procreate – well they can have other great projects. Isaac Newton, for example, wrote Philosophia Naturalis Principia Matematica and invented Calculus, while Katharine Hepburn won the most number of Best Actress Oscar Awards.
But I am digressing. The thing with adults is that they sometimes (or most of the time?) use their offsprings, their kids, as pawns, as trophies or as insurance policies. I think I was all these for you, mommy. And maybe you didn’t even realize it.
You were not a bad mother. For the most part you were wonderful:
Providing offspring with food, clothing and shelter, check.
Facilitate socialization of children, check.
Teach kids values and mores consistent with one’s beliefs, check. (Though I am not absolutely sure now what you really believed in)
Teach daughter to know own potentials and desires and follow them accordingly, FAILED. In this, I think you made me an extension of yourself, an extension of your dreams and wants and frustrations. And I am/was such a great daughter that if being a Good Daughter were a contest, I’d have won 1st Prize. For I have imbibed all your hopes, dreams and neuroses with flying colors.
I am just beginning to learn where you ended and I began. I am just beginning to learn what I am and what I really want.
But all that I have become that were because of you are also a part of me now. I cannot disown that. I cannot go back to being a 5 year old or a 16 year old.
Sometimes, I feel grief for the Me-That-I-Might-Have-Been. Would she have been successful on her own terms? She dreamed that she would write her first novel by the time she was 30. Well, guess what mommy, she is now 33 and she can’t even find her langguage!
Ok, fine, I should not be too hard on you. You, being a product of your time. Just like me, your parents also made you into the person who eventually raised me. There is a part of me, though, who feels like a small girl asking you why?
Why could you not protect me from yourself?