Last week my mother called and asked me to go to a hospital appointment with her. And I paused. The phone call felt odd for all sorts of reasons, not least because we haven’t spoken in months.
I started thinking of all the times I wished she’d been around for me: the hospital visits I’d dealt with alone, the break-ups, the traumas and, somehow worse, the successes she hadn’t been there to share. The pause lasted so long she said “fine” and hung up.
What, if anything, do we owe our parents? Do we have an obligation to them? A debt to repay for having had us and — if they did — bringing us up? And if so, how do we calculate it?
Would you add up the school sports days they came to, assess where they sent you to school and how good Christmas and your last birthday present was? Maybe there’s even scope for a counter-claim? Perhaps our parents owe us?
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