Dear Parents…

Thank you for everything.

Sincerely.

Thank you for everything you provided that we took for granted. Now that we are having to pay for the roofs over our heads, we realise that it was a privilege to live under yours’. Not a right.

Thank you for every sacrifice you made that allowed us the life we live now. Even the ones you’ll take to your grave. You might never speak about them, but we are a living testament of your endurance.

Thank you for forgiving the sins only a mother can forgive. Out here in the real world, forgiveness is something we are learning to earn. It is not given to us in the same way you did.

Thank you for protecting us from ‘The Big Bad World’.

We have now lived in it long enough to see why you worried so much about us. It does indeed get tough out here, but maybe it’s time you allowed us to figure things out for ourselves. Maybe it’s time you let go. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time you cut us some slack.

A great many of us are poorer than you were at our age. It’s not for a lack of trying. We just live in a world that constantly requires us to adopt.

As I near the end of my twenties, I have already had to learn more professional skills than both my parents put together. My mother switched professions once in her whole life. My father worked one job from the age the age of 23 until he retired. My foster mum taught at the same school for more than 25 years.

I have already been a sports commentator, a teacher, a technical engineer, a filmmaker, a writer and a businessman. This year I flirted with digital marketing until, inevitably, the company I was working for gave me the old “We won’t be able to pay you this month” speech. Most of my friends have heard scarier versions of this same speech and juggled more jobs than I can possibly keep track of.

We’ve invested in years of overpriced education only to come out to a world that sneers at us for demanding jobs instead of starting a car wash business. We’ve started businesses and been accused of being greedy by the same people who continue to steal from the very systems that are meant to empower us.

Those of us who have been lucky enough to avoid debt are one medical bill away from being homeless. Some of us will spend our savings on our ageing parents’ healthcare. We took ourselves back to school and came back out to a world that scoffs at our masters degree in the same way they did our bachelor’s degree. It was never about the degree.

So dear parents, we are trying our best.

I know there’s a lot you expect from us, but all we ask for in return is some understanding. Life is coming at us fast and we can do without the extra pressure.

We need you to trust us. Trust that we are still enough even when we don’t reach your expectations.

Trust that we know when the right time to settle down is. We, not you. Settling down is difficult when the ground below you is continuously shifting.

When we are ready to have children we will have them not because you want us to, but because we are ready to bring them into a world we have prepared. Trust us to know when we are ready.

We understand how much wedding ceremonies mean to you, but it can’t be at the cost of starting our marriages with a handicap. Trust that our financial priorities have taught us just how limited our resources are.

Trust what we tell you we can and cannot afford.

We would love to take out mortgages and build big homes you can talk to your friends about, but most of us are lucky if we will ever work at a company that is stable enough to cover our health insurance. Most of them don’t last long enough for us to take out a servants’ quarter mortgage. Trust that we are poor not stupid.

We have developed mental illnesses that the society around us is struggling to accept, let alone treat. We might not have broken bones, but trust that our pain is still real.

You can still be proud of us even when our job titles aren’t as elegant as those of your friends’ children. Trust that we are working just as hard.

Your support throughout our lives is important. Your patience is crucial. Your understanding is essential. Your trust?

Your trust is everything.

Trust that not everything we do is about you. Free yourself from the idea that you have to live on behalf of us. Know the difference between what you want for yourselves and what you want for us. One is in your control and the other isn’t.

Learn to accept that.

Never doubt how well you raised us. Wasn’t that the point all along? That it would eventually come to this? That you could one day trust that we can own our mistakes and decisions alike? Mom/Dad, look around you…

That day is finally here.

4 thoughts on “Dear Parents…

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