I’ve had a few frustrating days recently. Pull-out-your-hair-and-scream kind of frustrating. No joke.
We all have colds. We’re sick of being sick. We’re tired. Our patience is wearing thin.
|Photo by April Roskos|
And then Camilla pulled something on Sunday that she’s never done for anyone but her parents. The Sunday School teacher asked one of us to come take care of our daughter. I let Todd investigate. When he reached the classroom, Camilla had retreated under the table and was screaming at the top of her lungs. From my seat in the adult Sunday School class, I heard her go screaming down the hallway in his arms.
Someday she will kill me for telling this story on my blog.
But that was not the frustrating moment. It came later, when making her apologize for her behavior was like trying to pull out that new adult tooth growing in her mouth. And even later, when we had to leave her so we could go to Roger’s viewing and she prolonged our departure by half an hour with fits of screaming and crying and “I want you, Mommy!” By the time I extricated myself from her vice-like arms and legs, one part of me wanted to run away and never come back. The other part felt so guilty and confused that I burst into tears on the way to the viewing.
When we got home an hour later, she was perfectly happy. Until I asked her to do something she didn’t want to do. Then it started all over again.
Monday was better . . . for a while. Around 5 o’clock, however, she started crying and whining about something. I could not get her to settle down and talk calmly with me so I decided to grab her and hug her, hoping to diffuse the situation. It backfired.
She screamed, “You’re hurting me! Ow! Let me go! My neck!”
I finally put her down and stalked to the other end of the house, angry and hurt.
Real mature, I know.
My boy then climbed into my lap and gave me a kiss. I felt more guilty than ever.
I don’t love him more, I promise!
But at that moment I did not know how to love my daughter.
Then I heard her voice outside my bedroom door.
“Mommy, I’m sorry . . . but you were hurting me.”
I sat for a few moments thinking hopeless thoughts—that our home was awful and I was a mess and my daughter was beyond my reach at a mere five years old.
Then I heard a small whisper in my heart.
She came and said she was sorry. Nobody told her to do that.
I went back to where Camilla was playing.
“I was just trying to give you a hug,” I said.
“I don’t like big bear hugs. They hurt me.”
“But I love you. I want to hug you.”
“I love you, too. You can just hug me gently.”
So I gathered her gently in my arms and more tears fell.
Tears of relief and gratitude.
I love her still.
|Photo by April Roskos|
I feel compelled to ask that if you are going to comment by telling me that I need to be more strict or follow a particular parenting philosophy, please restrain yourself. You have never parented my daughter. And you never will. Stories of encouragement or similar frustration are welcome, however!