Another post of mine to a mailing list, prompted by a parent's despair at their gifts/letters etc to their alienated children going unacknowledged.
"Following on from Robin's post which I received today, I'd like to tell you that while I infrequently thanked my mother for the things she did for me while I was growing up and even in early adulthood before she passed away, I know TODAY what she did. I remember ALL the little things she did, like the little green rabbit cuddly toy she gave me out of the blue before the big school exams when I was 16. I remember the little notes she put in with mail she forwarded me when I was away from home. I remember that I never, ever once came home to a bed I needed to make myself. I remember how she always gave me just as much for Chrismas and birthdays as the other kids, even though none of them treated her like rubbish. I remember how she saw me struggling with English Lit before the big exams and arranged for extra tuition for me, paid for with money she must have snaffled from my stepfather because she asked me never to tell him. I remember her paying for extra Spanish lessons because I was merely interested in languages, not because I needed them. I remember the little gifts she bought me when we were out together with perhaps just the baby with us who wasn't old enough to blab to the other kids or be jealous. I still have upstairs in my wardrobe garments that she made for me with her own hands (that I was too cool to wear but would never part with, even when I (thought I) hated her most). I kept bizarre things like sick notes she wrote me for school. Her hiking boots. Her purse with a receipt bearing her signature. Her curlers because even today they smell of her. I remember how one year she felt I would appreciate a box of chocolate at Easter, rather than an Easter Egg, as I was a teenager - and how outraged I was! I remember how she laughed and made sure I received a big chocolate egg the next year. I remember she used to always buy me blank videotapes because I loved to record music shows off the TV.
I can think of a million other little things that my now-beloved mother did for me, despite being the Target Parent of some incredibly nasty behaviour from me.
Just like you alienated parents, she loved me and found other ways to demonstrate that in the face of not being allowed to tell me. And she never, ever stopped. Even to the year she died, she liked to send me little bits of money here and there to spend on her granddaughter, a child I hardly let her see.
Back then, I barely paid attention to what she was doing. I hardly saw it. NOW TODAY I can look back and remember and be relieved, grateful and blessed that she did all those things and never gave up, even though the alienation lasted for twenty years of her life.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: don't give up on your children. They will remember everything you do for them, even if right now they throw it back in your face. The comfort I receive from these gestures of love from my poor mother sometimes get me through the day."