get 'em dressed - check
teeth brushed- check
backpack- uh oh. I could feel the knot in my stomach tighten as I searched for the backpack with no luck. I knew it was most likely in the other car; but I am an eternal optimist. I know how he feels about the backpack. A quick call to hubby and the dreaded was confirmed- backpack is 25 minutes away; will need a back-up back pack today.
I cringed, said a quick prayer and gritted my teeth as I told him.
KABOOM! the frustration was more than he could handle, so it began.
Now, I know it isn't really about the back pack. I knew this explosion was coming weeks ago- before we left for vacation. I knew it was coming when I sent him home to VA and I got on a plane for Denver. I knew it was coming when I woke him up Friday morning, and I could see the relief on his face as he literally jumped from the top bunk onto me, and began to cry- confessing he was afraid I wouldn't come back. I knew it was coming, because it usually does.
The two of us standing in the kitchen - a sight to behold. He starts screaming, I scream back, escalating with him. I was okay with the escalation because it does bring relief for him, until he started swinging. The back-up back pack is now a weapon aimed for my head. I stop the assault, we are still screaming. I make eye contact with my son. The same brown eyes that disappear behind perfectly round cheeks when he smiles are now filled with anger. Anger you can see. It is directed at me. I feel myself exploding with him- we continue to scream but now he is swinging with his fists. I grab his hands. I hear myself tell him I am here, I am taking care of you , I am loving you and I am not the one you should be angry with.
There is no reasoning with him when he is in this state.
Am I really standing in my kitchen screaming at my son. Yes, and I am struggling inside. This is not how I pictured motherhood-this is not how I want to communicate with my son. Am I failing? This motherhood is different yet somehow becoming familiar. I grieve the difference in an instance; but no time to get stuck here. I ask him to scream with me. Scream whatever he wants, it's okay but it is not okay to ever hit me. He agrees to never do it again.
I pick my son up and hug him, hold him close. Tightly. He begins telling me "I love you Mommy" I assure him how much I love him. I know it probably won't be our last escalation dance.
Of course, these melt-downs have a domino effect, so the time required to get him to a safe emotional place, was making us late for school. I tell him to expect this, the tears start again. Aye-Aye Aye. During this entire scene, my baby son, my wild man has become peace-maker, and is circling us, patting legs or shoulders or whatever he can reach; while spilling the yogurt smoothies I got them for breakfast. Crazy Mommy, should have stuck with the Go-Gurt. My bright idea left a trail of strawberry-banana liquid rt all over the kitchen, couch and his face.
15 minutes pass, I'm still holding my son and finally I can feel the frustration and anger leave his body. He is now able to return the hugs and he asks if we can go now. With the pressure relieved, the conversations in the van turn to typical little boy things.
Yes, apparently red-headed gray bodied worms, with real blood when cut in half were abundant as they dug in the yard last night. They "operated" on them with mulch, washed the blood away and made them better- cause according to them, and I quote "we're experts cause we love the worms"
I guess that makes me expert at parenting my boys, cause I love them.