Yes, that is what Bode told me when I said to him,
“Bode, I love being your Mommy. Do you like me being your Mommy?”
“No. I wish that you weren’t always so mad.”
For a split second, the defensive me just wrote his reply off as being his reaction to most questions: say the opposite of the truth, or whatever he thinks will get a rise out of someone.
Unlucky for him, I was simultaneously hovering right above my lowest low since surgery. 7.5 weeks post-surgery I was finally starting to get really tired of being moderately to highly “uncomfortable”, training with an incredibly limited number of movements that I’m allowed to do, waking up all night with a dull pain in my shoulder and not being able to move around without being convinced I’ve pulled my sutures out, feeling grossly unsexy, unlean, unfit, and mentally unstable.
Sunday was that day.
Which makes me wonder why I would ever even consider asking a 5 year old boy a question like that with such a high risk of completely ruining my soul if answered any way but one, “YES, I LOVE YOU BEING MY MOMMY!”
And, his answer was so not that one favorable answer.
This all followed with a dramatic breakdown of me crying like a baby in the empty parking lot at CFNE under the overcast winter sky that hung over us like a dark grey sheet of sadness.
I finally managed to pull myself together enough to have a conversation with him about whether he really meant that…which he did…why he felt like that…because I get mad at him a lot…and, a seemingly endless rant of me apologizing for being so mean all of the time.
I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
I mean, he’s right. He’s totally right.
I get mad at him about everything from him leaving his Legos and MagnaTiles in the hallway and kitchen. I get mad at him for moving so slowly in the morning when I’m trying to get them to school on time. I get mad at him for not being nice to Harley Love, or setting a good example for her, or…like a hundred other things. I get mad at him for taping papers to the walls all over the house. I get mad at him for pulling all of the stuffed animals out of their bins and leaving them all over the upstairs. And, I get mad at him for using potty talk or talking about killing things.
It’s like, ENOUGH ALREADY. Just freaking RELAX, will you!?!
What’s funny, though, is I think if you asked Maya and Jonah if I get mad a lot, they would have the exact opposite reaction. Now, maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part, but I don’t think I act like that around them.
That’s where I get lost in trying to understand this whole thing. Why am I one kind of parent to Bode…not even Harley Love nearly as much…and, a different parent to Maya and Jonah?
Why do I do that to Bode? Because he is not a bad kid. He really isn’t. Am I just harder on him because he’s the older of the two kids that are home with me more than the others? Is it his age? Is it that he’s a boy?
A couple of hours after that conversation, Bode says to me, “I actually don’t want another Mommy. I want you as my Mommy. I’m going to be better so that you don’t get mad anymore.”
I couldn’t believe what just happened.
I couldn’t believe that it was all still swirling around in his little head, that he came to the conclusion that he wanted me to be his Mommy still, and that he was going to do something to fix it all.
We had an incredible conversation about how I was going to be more patient, understanding, and nice so that he didn’t feel like that anymore. I told him that I wanted him to tell me if I wasn’t being any of those things so I could be better, too. And, I thanked him for being big enough to be able to talk to me about all of it.
A couple days later, and I have to tell you the honest to God truth: we’ve had the best 48 hours together that I can ever remember. We talk about things like why it’s important to get to places on time, how to prioritize things that you are doing when you need to get ready to go somewhere. And, we talk nicely about things…instead of talking meanly about them.
It sounds like such an obvious, normal way that a family should treat one another…but, I would suspect that we’re not the only family out there that lets behavior like that happen more than it ever should.
Which, really, is never.