Saturday, July 13, 2013

i don't like you.

Facing that moment when your child spews out the words "I don't like you!" is horrifying. The gut wrenching sting sinks in and before you can stop yourself you shout "oh yeah!?! Well! I don't even care!" (...or something equally childish).  The pang of their blast is still a fresh wound. Then you sit back and realize how bad it hurts. How much it hurts to be told you're not liked. And it hurts to realize you don't have the world's best selfcontrol. That you're just an insecure human after all.

Saying those words to my mother when I was young was a no-brainer. You're a child and you're upset and it is natural to show your frustration with harmful words. What no one ever told me is how my mother felt when she heard them. Now I know. 

We have had our first few encounters with this, this week. I know it isn't anyone Rowan's hanging around. It is just something that comes with changing of age and not really knowing how powerful his words are. As a mom I knew this day would come, and I figured hearing the words would feel something more like that saying "I'm rubber, you're glue, whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you!" But it isn't true - they don't bounce off. They hurt and they throb. I am not sure if it is the words that hurt, as much as knowing that things are changing. Our relationship is hitting new marks, and my little baby boy that I rocked to sleep every night is becoming a big boy who thinks for himself. Either way the words don't hurt any less. And my reaction was pure defense, and nothing like the cool calm me I conjured up in the version if this scenario in my thoughts. 

I was shocked at my defensive reaction. It is hard to step back from the moment and handle everything as an "adult" because, to be honest, some times I still feel like a kid, someone who is still learning and finding their way, too. It made me realize parents aren't robots - we are not imbedded with a code that makes us react in a rational matter in situations where our kids attack. We have to learn. We have to step back. And we have to try to hold back our own tears. Some times being a mom is a lot harder than I ever knew. That we are just people who are learning and growing along with our children. We  may never have the perfect response or all the answers. And that moms can't just walk away from a situation. Some times as a mom you have to apologize. Even if you didn't start the fight, you need to apologize for your response. Or for saying things you didn't mean. You need to let them know that (even out if anger) words are powerful. And that the most powerful words are usually saying "I am sorry." Your kids are being lead by your example, and if you have the chance to show them that it's ok to apologize first you should always take it! Even if you're the one who got hurt, you still may owe somebody an apology. Because it isn't that hard to say sorry, but those words change your heart and have the potential to mend an entire situation. It also makes them see that once words are spoken they can't be erased, they can't be taken back and be unheard, but that they can only be forgiven. 


Unknown said...

Love this. Sometimes it IS so hard to be the adult!

Unknown said...

I guess there's always times when whatever age we feel like saying I don't like you in this moment! but under it all we still can say I love you.
As an aside the photos are amazing! Those boys are so lucky to be growing with such a close bond and these pics to look back on
Love kat

AubreyHeidi said...

well said, motherhood is such a learning experience. beautiful pictures, as always!

andie013 said...

love this post!

Unknown said...

Dreading, dreading, dreading this day. Mine is just an infant still, but I know ... someday ... it's like a parenting right of passage. I get knots in my stomach just thinking about it.

cassaundra said...

your photos are beautiful.