I lived with people saying much the same thing to me as a kid or having Mum in particular saying that other people had told her she should be proud of me. I was never sure why that was the case. But I did feel the weight of expectation, always scared to speak my mind or disobey. If I was told to be home at 11pm I made damn sure I was.
But was it really fear or a desire by me to live up to the expectations of other people? I was told around 10 years old that I was the man of the house and I had to look after my mother and sisters. I have spent the last few years trying to figure out what that meant. Unlike Skipper I didn't rebel, I conformed, maybe that made people proud of me, maybe it turned me into the boring anti-social nerd I sometimes feel I am.
Life is so constructed, that the event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation.
And perhaps not only the event but the life itself will not match the expectation in the long term. I find myself wondering about how my kids will turn out, whether they will succeed or not in whatever they may choose to do, and I try very hard not to put the weight of my own expectations on them like I had placed on me. Whilst I hope that things will turn out better for them than perhaps they have for me, we all make our own way, with our own mistakes. Hopefully when we fall someone will be there to offer their hand and help us up. But only if we want it.
So whilst I think that, unlike Skipper, I tried way too hard to live up to other people's expectations with a desire, if not to make them proud, at least not to disappoint them, I hope that my kids escape the need to think they owe me that. At the end of the day I'll be proud of them anyway.