A while ago, when I was out at a gathering of mainly young people in their early - mid 20s, I overheard a young person say, "our mothers never love us the way we want them to".
Is that true of everyone? I know I feel that. To the extent that I don't really feel my mother loved me at all - or at least, did her best not to be too attached to me, for reasons I understand as an adult. Despite that understanding, my own sense of being unloved remains to this day. She wasn't unkind most of the time, and, in fact, did lots of kind, good things for me, supported me through some hard times. But all the same, it felt to me that her approval was very conditional, and what friends, family and neighbours thought was her main concern. I remember when I announced I was moving out to go flatting, her response was, "but what will people think if you move out?" My father, on the other hand, looked sad but asked, "what do you need? How can we help?" I would have liked her to have told me nice things about myself, not just ways I could improve. I would liked to have been hugged. I would have liked her to have said she loved me.
I know I have loved my sons unconditionally always, and I think they know that now, but I also know that I have failed to be as kind and supportive of them as I, and they, I'm sure, would have liked.
I keep wondering, in what ways do my sons feel they would have liked me to love them? Then I wonder, do I really want to know, when it is far too late for me to change anything? Perhaps not.