Did you ever see Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead? Very bad title, but kind of a fun movie where Christina Applegate, just out of high school, ends up playing the role of working mom to her 4 (or 5?) siblings. By the end of it, she and the oldest brother have this scene where they sound like a husband and wife fighting about the stress of it all and the under-appreciation they both feel.
I always liked this film, Sylvia's seen it and liked it, too, but even out of the mouths of babes, Sylvia just doesn't get it. And I realize now that I never really got it, either. Not until now when Sylvia is on the cusp of teenager-hood (ism?).
I understand now that you spent every waking hour thinking of me and my sister, and did everything in our best interest. I understand now that sometimes you had to make hard decisions that seemed so totally unfair in my eyes, and knowing that broke your own heart because the last thing you wanted to do is hurt me. I understand now that you gave us everything you could, and sometimes more, and that it hurt you when there was something you couldn't give, or that it was indeed something that was not in my best interest to have. I understand now that even though I always thought it was obvious that I loved you and thought of you often, it may not have come across that way!
If it makes you feel any better, I understand all this now because I am having some of the same frustrating experiences that you had when I was growing up. I'm trying to keep things in perspective, both from my POV as a former child and as a parent now, but it can be hard. And sometimes, I just make the wrong choices and have to correct myself as much as possible. And sometimes, I just have to accept that my girls will not always understand, and that it's okay that they don't.
Instead, I'll just wait and see if they grow up to have daughters, and if maybe this post might come in handy to them someday. (And they'll be thinking, OMG, blogs are SO last generation!)
Love your older and getting wiser daughter,