Not all children are raised. Some of them just grow up, becoming their own saviors. Their only savior.
My mother made it clear to me from a young age that my father never wanted me. That I was a mistake, though she had tried to convince him otherwise.
Even twenty years later, how my mother reveled in telling the story — how she gained almost 100 lbs (and lost her figure) when she became pregnant with me, how my dad backed out on their wedding after the invitations had already been mailed out, how the night I was born he was on a date with some skank named Rhonda (who would randomly pop back into my dad’s life over the years), and finally how he fell in love once he saw me.
I was a perfect baby, everybody said so.
Perfect blue eyes.
Perfect blonde hair.
Perfect fair skin.
My mom swore I would come out hating the world “with everything she went through”, but baby Emily was perfect and could not care less about the world.
If you ask my dad why it didn’t work with my mom out after I was born, he will only mutter something about how my mom shopped too much and then throw in, “well, you know how she can be…”
My mother loved to call me names or put me down. She still likes to brag about how she never really beat us but fear definitely ruled in our household. I was the baby; the golden child and my siblings hated me for it.
She never stayed single for long, always moving from one bad choice to another — a loser truck driver named Skip, the barely legal townie Travis — finally settling on Jeffrey and becoming Mrs. Daugherty when I was in second grade. He was okay until he wasn’t.
Neither of my adult parents has been able to maintain a lasting romantic relationship in their lives, and I find myself on a similar path.
It feels like the weight of breaking the cycle lays on my back, pressured by my parents, the very people who taught me to question my worth and constantly cave to the world around me.
I feel the burden of them growing older, their bodies growing weaker, and my own health deteriorating despite my youth.
Do you ever get tired of taking care of your parents?
As a kid, I just desired so deeply for their approval and love, I would have done anything. But now, as I grow older and realize that life is short, I crave something so much more — freedom.
Freedom from getting their judgment.
Freedom from needing their affection.
Freedom from wanting their approval.
I am no longer the perfect baby who sits by silently, sucking my thumb as madness and chaos unfold around me.
Emily Lingenfelser is a 20-something mom who writes and captures moments to make sense of this messy world. She runs the website, Emily is Fearless.
This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.