During the holidays I struggle with thoughts of obligatory interactions. Should I call my parents on holidays I don’t celebrate? Should I wish them happy birthday even if they don’t reciprocate? How should I feel about that now that I’m in my thirties? Have I in the past called and reached out to make contact because of an obligation? Do I really care about them as people or as my parent? All of these questions have left me in a stump. As a parent I want to make my child feel loved and part of that is celebrating them. I believe everyone wants to feel loved and desired by others, but when it’s one sided does that still provide any of that?
The last time I spoke with my father he told me how great he thought a post my younger sister (10 years old) wrote about my brother (her half brother) on Facebook. It was the first time I can recall him saying something positive about one of his children (besides my brother in the military, who will forever be our family hero). I can’t recall the last time he said “good job” to me, or seemed appreciative to me for all the free work I’ve done for him. I’m not sure if he’s even asked me how I was doing after a stretch of not talking, or how my graduate work is going. I felt immature for having these thoughts, but somewhere it showed me that I want to be lifted up by my parents. That I want to be the source of someones pride.
It may never happen, the hard part is not allowing it be my determinant of self-worth. It’s a really hard part.