...bad things happened when you were not around.
You were doing your best, I know. Trying hard to provide for us, when we lived in tiny shared apartments. You worked more than 12 hours a day at minimum wage jobs, trying to make sure I have everything I need.
I know that you wanted me to grow up a strong and independent person, who can take care of themselves. And I did. But I always wished I didn't have to be independent. When I cooked dinner for both of us in 2nd grade, I wished that you were home when I come back from school.
I wished that I would see your face at school doors when the bell rang, and you would take me home to eat hot dinner, and help me with my homework. I wished you would wake up in the morning before I did and cook breakfast, so I didn't have to go to school hungry. But it didn't happen. I left for school when you were still sleeping, and came back to an empty apartment day after day, year after year.
I accepted the fact that I have to take care of these things myself. I accepted that I have to take care of you when you come home late from work, and I must serve you dinner and ask you about your day instead. Because this time during dinner, when we shared news and talked about what is going on on tv was the only time you could spare for me.
I know you did your best. Or at least always tried to do your best. It wasn't perfect, even when you tried, though. Because you were young when you had me. And I often wonder how your life would have been different if you didn't. But when we talk about these things, you just look at me with both warmth and sadness and say that you will never regret having me, because I am the best thing you've ever made. And I know that there is nothing to talk about, really. Maybe you regret many things. I certainly do. But you never made me feel like I was one of them.
So many bad things happened, when you were not around. And even though, I knew that if I shared them with you, you would hug and comfort me. But I never told you anything. Even when I was small.
You cried a lot, and I never knew how to comfort you. And, I guess, the idea of putting more burden on you, than you already carried was too much for me.
I am an adult now, and I know that it upsets you that I don't want to have video calls as often as you would like. And that I only text you when I have something important to say. I'm not much for idle chatter, but aside from that, I will never tell you that seeing you is very hard for me. Every time I see your face I notice that you are getting older. And it scares me, that I won't be able to help you when you grow too old to handle things on your own. Because we live in different countries, but also because I haven't found my footing yet. And when I look at you, I feel anxious that I may not find it until a late age, just like you. I stopped feeling upset and angry with you for not being around when I needed you as a child. But now I feel pity for you because your life didn't turn out as great as it could have.
You always shared your struggles with me when I was a child. And you continue to do it to this day. But I know for sure, that even though you really needed someone to confide in - it shouldn't have been me. Because no child should have to carry the burden of their parent's life until they are of an appropriate age to help. And that affected me a lot growing up. And I still struggle with the consequences.
I know that it is messed up, that when you tell me: "I love you". I reply with some kind of emoji, just to avoid saying it back to you. I know you love me, and, of course, I appreciate it. But I can never bring myself to say it back. And I hope that you know that I care for you, as I always try to help whenever I can. But it is hard to be around you when you come to visit me or I have to be around you and our family for longer than one day.
You still treat me as if I'm a child, and that makes me regress back to when I was 8 years old, and bad things were happening to me, and you weren't there to save me. I don't resent you for that. Not anymore, at least, but I also don't know if I love you in the way that you love me.
Thank you for the things you've done for me. I will always appreciate your sacrifices and the struggle you experienced in life, which partially attributed to raising me. But I also regret things that you weren't able to do for me, which I desperately needed, and it will stay with me till the day I die.