As a mother you know that sooner or later those words will be hurled at you in a fit of anger. You brace yourself for how you’ll respond, how you think it will make you feel. You believe that knowing what you know now compared to when you were younger that you won’t be hurt by it as much. You’ll hold strong and know that the words are not true and only being used to hurt. You never expect it to cause you more pain than a 36 hour labor with no epidural. And yet, that’s exactly how it felt when Emberly told me she hated me. We had been home for no more than 2 hours after being gone for 5 days. She didn’t understand the power of her words. She didn’t know that saying those three words would make my world crumble down around me. No, she just thought that was an appropriate response to not letting her play with something. Something so miniscule I don’t even remember what it actually was I was not allowing her to do.
I hate you!
I’ve uttered those words to my parents numerous times during adolescence. Adolescence not toddler-hood. Not at a time when my parents were my world and I wasn’t influenced by what my friends had or were able to do. I feel horrible for the way I acted as a teenager, and this just solidified how much of a b*tch I truly was back then. But now, hearing those words for the first time out of my 2 1/2 year old, I feel sucker-punched all over again just playing it back in my mind.
I hate you!
I quickly responded in a stern yet caring tone. We don’t say that. Those words are mean and hurt people’s feelings. You made mom sad by telling her that. Why is this a conversation I’m having at this point? Immediately Emberly’s eyes welled up with tears. Her world crashing down around here knowing that she hurt someone she loved. At the same time my heart breaking into a million more pieces for the pain she’s feeling. I didn’t cry. I stayed strong. I held her and explained to her that we should be nice to others with our words, even if we’re angry about something. We need to learn on expressing ourselves.
And then Britt returned home. and I cried. It wasn’t until I had to utter out-loud the words she said to me that I realized just how much weight three words could hold.
She hasn’t said it since, only returning to her usual You’re not invited to my birthday party stance. Which feels better. The moment I’m left to dread is the moment she hears those three words spoken to her and realizes the impact they had before.