I've heard there's such a thing. I even know some people who suffer from the affliction. Offspring envy is when the mom or dad -- or both -- feel envious of their child's characteristics and/or achievements. Then there's second-degree-offspring-envy. An example of this is when Adult A refuses to believe that the child of Adult B is better than Adult A's child; that whatever the child of Adult B has achieved, he or she couldn't have done it without the help of Adult B.
Confused? No worries. I am too.
What I am NOT confused about, however, is my near-absence of offspring envy. I say "near-absence" because there is some envy I feel, somewhat. I do envy my progeny to an extent. I envy them their youth and innocence, their fresh start at lucid life. I envy them the time where they are now in their lives, that still-pure and carefree period wherein any mistakes they commit, any wrong decisions they make, will have no lasting impact on how they live, laugh, learn and love.
But my so-called offspring envy is ultrananomicroscopic in comparison to the overwhelming blessedness I feel when I look at my children.
I don't feel sorry for myself because my daughters will grow up to be more beautiful than I ever could be. Their beauty becomes more evident as time passes, and I rejoice in it.
I don't feel insecure because my teenage son is now writing lines that go "I don't mean to be lazy, it's just that I have those moments that I don't realize that I'm being lazy. Perhaps I'm too lazy to even notice." -- a thought I could never have articulated that well when I was his age. The first time I read his blog, it took my breath away.
What I am is someone who is so proud of her children -- yet at the same time someone humbled by the hints of greatness that are emerging from within those beings who will and are becoming more than she could ever become.