Some time ago, in this house, you stood with me in the kitchen while I talked about the joy of raising kids. You said I'd "been a nightmare" to raise. From the expression on your face I knew that you weren't joking, though you may now claim that you were. I'm sorry you feel that way, and that you may resent me. However, while all kids are difficult, I was an ordinary kid, very easy in most important ways. I think your recollection is more a reflection of your own inner stresses and battles than my nature.
She wrote back:
It is a good thing that all dreams do not come true. As I remember, you were the easiest of the three to raise as not only were you the third, but also a boy. Practice is supposed to make perfect and, even if I wasn't by then, it made raising you easier. Not having been a boy or having been raised with a brother (I left home when my brother was three) I had no store of horror stories to prejudice my view of you.
It is possible, however to shape your dreams somewhat so--read what I have written, know that I tell you true that I love you and did not find you difficult to raise.
Your loving mother
Thanks! But I wonder why you said it.
There was no reply to that. And we've seen and talked to her several times since then. It's not a huge looming issue. But as she rather cogently admitted last year: "I'm not very good at dealing with my feelings." The use of the word "dream" twice in her reply may indicate an attempt to portray my recollection as something I imagined. In this case her need to fabricate an ideal situation has run up against her actual conduct, and she's retreated into the maxim of: "If you can't say something nice. don't say anything at all."
She's a good person, and I love her. I guess we all have our quirks.