My father wanted a son and was very disappointed I was female. Unfortunately my mother couldn’t have any more children after me so his chance of having a boy in the family was lost. It wasn’t my fault of course but he really rubbed it in from the start that I had let him down.
As a result I was a very insecure child who felt inadequate and unlovable.
Moving on a couple of decades I have gradually built myself up, found someone I trusted who cared about me and had two perfect children. I adored them when they were tiny but as the years have gone by I have developed a latent fear that my children will find that out that I am not a good enough mother and want little or nothing to do with me. I stopped speaking to my father shortly after my marriage so he has not had any input in their lives, which has baffled them.
I managed to put a lid on my fears while they have been at home but my elder child will be going to university this autumn and while I am delighted for her I fear that once she leaves home and develops her own ways of doing things, she will discover all my failings. Part of me sees this as the empty nest syndrome writ very large, but I don’t now how to handle it. Should I try to fix dates for her to come home? Leave her alone to make her own decisions? Or assume the worst so that any small connection is a real treat?