I don’t really get my feelings hurt that easily. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and think if they say something hurtful, they probably didn’t mean it. Of course, I also spent the first 32 years of my life not being insulted by a person I brought into this world.
Yesterday, I arrived to pick Caroline up from school only to have her turn away from me and tell me “just leave me alone”. Excuse me?
She walked away from me and kept telling me to “just leave”.
I informed her that she had to come with me because there are laws about leaving her alone and like it or not, she had to get in the car with her mama and go home.
We get in the car and I’m already a little upset by her attitude and behavior. Then, as we’re driving across the parking lot, I hear her voice from the backseat saying “I didn’t want you to pick me up, I don’t like you because you’re an ugly girl.”
I pulled the move patented by angry, frustrated mothers everywhere, and one I remember well from my childhood. I SLAMMED on my brakes and I promise I laid rubber in the parking lot of the Methodist Church. Hell hath no fury like a mama who spent 24 hours in labor with no epidural until it was time to push.
I had flashbacks of my own childhood as I heard things coming out of my mouth such as “I am your Mother. You do NOT talk to your Mother like that. I will wear you out if I EVER hear you talk like that.”
And for all my big talk, what I really wanted to do was put my head down on the steering wheel and cry. I know she’s three, I know she’s figuring out the art of emotional manipulation, and I know that she was tired after her school day. I know I shouldn’t let it hurt, but it did. I wanted to yell, “I would give up my life for you without even a second thought and this is the thanks I get?”
I had to call Gulley for therapy and it makes me laugh to think of how much our lives have changed since we first became friends seventeen years ago. I remember nights spent talking about things like, “Do you think he likes me? What do you think he meant when he said he’d call?” and now I’m asking, “Am I a good mother? Am I doing something wrong? Why would she say that?”
I know that as the years go by, Caroline and I are going to have our ups and downs. It’s the dance that mamas and daughters have been doing since the beginning of time and we’ll be no different.
I know she loves me, she’s just figuring this whole thing out, pushing the limits, testing my boundaries to see how far she can go. As P likes to remind me, I did this. I prayed that we would have a daughter with a strong spirit because in all my rookie, hormonal, pregnant mama confidence, I believed we were up to the task of raising a leader. God is probably still shaking His head and laughing at me saying “Here you go, one strong willed leader coming right up.” I’m going to need all of His help to mold this spirit in the right direction, because that’s my prayer, to mold her spirit without breaking her spirit.
This evening after bathtime, all the drama of the afternoon was forgotten. I dressed her in her “I Love Mom” pj’s (a shameless ploy to make myself feel better) and we snuggled on the couch. She scooched up under my arm, looked up, kissed me and said “Oh Mama, I hope someday I have a big nose just like you.”
And that’s how I know, in spite of how she may act or what she may say, that she loves me.