Sunday, March 13, 2011

The "unfair relationship" between parents and children

(From Kieslowski on Kieslowski)

Relationships with parents are never fair. When our parents are on top form, at their best, their most energetic, their most lively and their most loving, we don't know them because we don't exist yet. Or we're so tiny that we don't appreciate it. Then, when we grow older and start to understand certain things, they're already old. They no longer have the energy which they used to have. They no longer have the same will to live as they had when they were young. They've been disillusioned in all sorts of ways, or they've experienced failure. They're already bitter. I had wonderful parents. Wonderful. Except I wasn't able to appreciate then when I should have. I was too foolish.

[...] our parents need us around: they still think we're little and need to be looked after. But we try to break away from this care and we have the right to do so. That why I think the relationship between children and parents - and particularly between parents and children - is terribly unfair. But that's the way it has to be. Every generation has to go through this injustice. Maybe what counts is simply to be able to understand this at a certain moment.

My daughter, Marta's, attitude is just as unfair. It's the natural order of things. She's repaying me for the unfair attitude I once had towards my parents. That sounds as if it were premeditated, but it's not calculated at all; it's natural, biological. She's nineteen and it's only natural that she should want to leave home. But that's the way it must be. It's natural.

[...] So I don't really talk to my daughter about important matters, or if I do, then very rarely. I do talk about practical things, of course, but I don't talk to her about the really important things in life. I write her letters, because she can keep them, look back over them. When you get a letter like that it doesn't mean much, but later on, in the future...