Let me prepare you, the first time feels like they've taken a knife and slashed it right through your heart. The pain will sear and your eyes will sting. Who knew such little people could harbor such potent weapons?
I've grown accustomed to hearing it from my eldest daughter's mouth on the rare occasion that she's angry/tired/frustrated enough to lash out instead of articulately expressing her upset as she usually does. She's a mature old soul, I tell you. I know when we get to that point, I need to take her in my arms, or simply stand back, and really listen to her.
My second daughter has rarely, if ever uttered the words and instead, usually turns it around, "Well then, you must hate me!" That makes me sad, but it's much easier to deal with.
Saturday, The Boy said the words. My sweet, adorable, loving, cuddly little boy. My baby. My cuddle bunny. My little love. He's the sweetest child I've ever known, the cutest, the kindest, the loveliest. Yet, out of his mouth came those words.
It was bedtime. He's going through "Papa" and "I-can-do-it-myself" phases simultaneously. When Papa is home, he is the only one The Boy wants to help him. Otherwise, he wants to do everything by himself.
"No! I can do it!" and "No, Papa can..." are frequent, frustrating (for me) phrases. But, as you moms know, sometimes Papa can't. Sometimes Papa is doing other things or just plain doesn't like to do the thing you're trying to do with your kids so it is your domain. After years of parenting together, you know what you do and what he does and you rarely switch off unnecessarily.
And sometimes the child simply can't and they actually do need help.
I tried to maintain a level of patience and "help" him get ready for bed. Within the "I-can-do-it-myself phase" "help" means just standing by waiting in case he needs assistance. He got increasingly upset because a) he didn't want to go to bed yet and b) he couldn't get his shirt over his head.
After about 5-minutes of alternately offering him help, walking away to let him experience his independence while ensuring he didn't sneak back down the stairs and, frankly, getting annoyed with him, I asked, "Can I just help you, please?"
"No! I hate you, Mama!"
"Ouch," doesn't begin to describe the pang of anguish that tore through me. I thought I had tough-mama skin by now, but tears sprung to my eyes and a sob escaped before I could disguise it from my boy. I didn't expect it from him.
He looked at me, shocked, I think, by the power of his words. Then, his own face crumbled and his eyes poured over. "No, Mama! Don't cry!"
We reached for each other and held tight.
"Those words, hurt." I told him. "Those words break a mommy's heart."
"I broke your heart?" He asked, his eyes wide and brimming once more with tears.
"It's not broken," I assured him. "But that really hurt."
We hugged for a moment longer and he finally let me help him get into his pajamas. He dutifully marched to the bathroom to brush his teeth. When he struggled to squeeze out the toothpaste, naturally, I offered to help.
"No! Papa can!"
Damn. You know what? Papa can.
And Papa did.
And my heart mended with a new, thicker layer of mommy-skin. Yet branded by that inevitable, yet unexpected, compilation of words.
|Can you imagine such words from that angelic face? I couldn't either.|