We were in a frenzy to get out the door as usual. Of course I was running late, because….I have 3 kids.
Two were in the car, or meandering around in the yard. I wasn’t sure because the middle child couldn’t find his shoes. I was inside trying to deep breath through the shoe routine.
I’ll be honest, I am not always patient with this charade. “I can’t find them!” pretty much hits their lips as soon as I say, “get your shoes on so we can go.” But, in this particular case, I did at least see the 5 year old attempt to walk through each room and “look” for them. But, we all know that when a 5 year old looks somewhere, it’s about the same as when the husband looks. They glance. Sort of.
So as he’s glancing (aka “looking) around each room and crying because he can’t find his shoes, I proceed to lose my cool. Whatever grace and patience was left in me had suddenly evaporated and I became scary mommy. I got down low at his eye level and told him he better find his shoes or I was going to lose it.
Of course, it was clear to us all that I had already lost it.
As he turned his back to me, I heard 3 words no parent wants to hear, and 3 words I thought maybe, just maybe I would never hear.
“I hate you”
I whipped my head around like something out of the exorcist. “What did you say?!” I asked in sincere shock that one of my children could utter those words.
He immediately started to cry. And proceeded to cry as I did the only thing I could think to do in this scenario. Force him to say it again.
I threatened that he would lose his play date as we drove his older sister to hers. He cried and cried and cried while I tried to hold back my own tears. “Just tell me what you said and you can still go to your friend’s house”
“OK, once I turn here, your time is up.”
“It’s better if you just say it.”
“Why won’t you just tell me?”
I said all I could say and he obviously wasn’t giving it up again. He knew better. He obviously knew it was wrong. But, my threats had to be enforced. He didn’t get his play date, and he finally admitted that what I knew I had heard was true.
I sent him downstairs for quiet time, put his brother down for a nap, and called my husband to sob like a baby. “He said I hate you. I am failing as a mother. I don’t know what to do. blah blah blah.” The knife to the heart was real in that moment, and I just needed a moment to cry.
After regaining my composure and some of my dignity, I sat him down and tried to explain that I hate you is the opposite of I love you, and I hope he never says that again, because even when I’m mad at him, I would never EVER say that to him.
And, then we moved on with our day. I got a few more hugs than usual, and I eventually got over the fact that my kids were, in fact, normal.
So, as heart wrenching as this was, I learned a few things in the process.
1. Parenting sucks
2. My kids are normal
3. Expect at least one child to do what you thought they never would.
4. I’m doing my job as a parent.
5. I am no different than every other mother out there.
6. Crying helps.
7. So does chocolate.
I pray that you never hear those 3 ugly words, but if you’re a parent, my guess is you probably will.
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