I used to have a recurrent fantasy of paying my parents back. I’d work out exactly what I cost to them, every meal, every toy, fair market rent on my bedroom, reasonable babysitter wages for my parents, everything right down to the hospital bill for my birth. I’d save up for years upon years and then I’d write them one gigantic check for the purchase of me, now wholly paid off and owned by me.
I didn’t really expect to do this–it would come to a couple hundred grand, and they’d probably take it as an epic insult–but I fantasized about it because it seemed like the only way to make things right. Otherwise it felt like I had to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars of value as a child, and how the hell could I do that? How could I possibly be so successful, so obedient, so pleasant and helpful that you’d rather have me than a Lamborghini?
It’s hard to accept that your childhood was a gift, rather than a loan, especially when your parents aren’t too keen on that view themselves.