Have you ever felt totally disconnected from your own mother?
My cousin died in a terrible car wreck today. He’d probably been drinking, since he was known to do that to excess. The drinking and the death are very sad. He was not yet 50.
Toward the end of our conversation, my mother said she hoped her sister, my aunt, would take this opportunity to lay the burden down that was her son.
She actually said that.
He was a burden to be endured. He wasn’t a son to be loved.
I suppose that’s what I am to my mother. I’m a burden:
I keep her grandchildren thousands of miles away.
I can’t work because of mental illness.
Did I mention I’m gay?
To me, her comment wreaks of self-absorption and self-pity.
What causes parents to be martyrs to their children?
I don’t get it. As many of you know, I have a son who’s about to enlist in the army with the dream of joining the corp of engineers. I’m proud of him and scared for him, but I don’t expect him to make decisions about his own life based on what I think and desire. I have two more children, and I have dreams for them, but I have no illusions about their futures regardless of my dreams.
Is this a generational difference? My mother is soon to be 80. I’m 47.
Is it natural to put such pressure on children to perform up to their parents’ expectations? What am I missing here?