Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fixing Things

The Mayor had a really hard morning a few days ago.

He picked a fight with his Dad on the way out of the house and, after we dropped K off at the train station, he kept the fight alive with me.

When he shifted his aggression towards me, I was not the best parent.

I allowed myself to be drawn into the battle.

"No I didn't."

"Yes, you did."

"No! I didn't."

[and so on.]

By the time we got to his school, he was completely defeated and utterly sad.

He held me for much longer than usual when we said our goodbyes.

His eyes were red, nearly spilling over.

"I love you forever and ever and always no matter what," I said.
[Because that is what we say in our family when we struggle.]

I held him for a long time, but eventually pulled away.

After I closed the door, I looked back through the window and saw that he had fallen into his teacher's arms sobbing.

I hesitated, but ultimately, kept going.

Throughout my morning swim, I felt sad.

I went to work and dragged from meeting to task to conference call.

Why get into a battle of wills with a four year old and insist on winning?

What a jerky thing to do.

Heavy sheets of dreary rain fell steadily all day and I continued to feel bad.

Finally, I got up from my desk and drove to his school.

"Is it o.k. if I play for a little while longer?" he asked when he saw me.

"Um... can I talk to you for a minute?" I asked.

He followed me to a corner of the room far away from his friends.
"I'm sorry we struggled this morning, Mayor," I said. "I've been feeling badly about it all day and I've been missing you. I was hoping you and I could spend a little bit of time just by ourselves. We could go do something and then come back later to pick up your sister."
He gave me a big hug.

We went to the post office and mailed a box together and then drove to a restaurant for a to-go order of his favorite tater tots.

Nothing magical happened, but I think we both felt better.

On our way back to his school to pick up The Rooster, The Mayor said,

"You love me forever and ever no matter what."

"That's right," I said. "I do."


The Sour Kraut said...

When I read of your calm and compassionate parenting, I realize I could do so much better. Good for you for going back to him.

WILLIAM said...

When my wife and I fight...there is nothing like tater tots to smooth things over.

Angela said...

What a lovely post. Thank you for brightening my morning, I didn't get to see my kids when I left for work early this morning,but only gave them soft kisses while they slept. I want to go home right now and give them giant hugs.

Mama Goose said...

This is so touching and so timely for me. My 5 year old and I struggled this morning as I sent him to school. His brother is sick and has to stay home with me today. He did NOT like that plan and I didn't handle it well. I am aching inside until I can pick him up and do something equally monumental (ice cream) with him to make up for my shortcomings this morning.

Patois said...

I do hate those struggles, especially when we can't make peace before we part. Yummmmm, tater tots.

furiousBall said...

I have these battles with my little guy too. A little boy's ego is such an odd thing, they have so much bravado, yet if they get broken down, it's really hard on them.

Mama Bub said...

Holy good parenting, Batman. A lesson for me to tuck away for the future.

Liam's Mom said...

I understand days like this so well. It's something that takes your focus from work and makes you question your parenting skills. It's amazing what a little heart to heart can do to make all the sadness go away. There have been times I've cried to my 3 year saying how sorry I was and that I want us to be happy with one another. Only they can help, not hubby, not another grown up friend... just them.

Anonymous said...

I have been there. I'm glad you had a good ending to the day.

3carnations said...

I have so been there. The morning struggle, the difficult parting at school...The feeling sad all day. Then discovering at the end of the day that he got over it long ago. :)

Fran Loosen said...

So great. D is at the age where when I say things to him (when we struggle), I can see him pause and work it around in his mind. It's a weird feeling, that. Tater tots are my favorite too.

the new girl said...

That sounds pretty magical to me, yo.

dramamama said...

I wrote about the SAME kind of thing just last night...

I had a blow out with my 10 year old daughter and by the time she was in bed, I felt like a complete jerk. We made up this morning, and all is good, but I SO know how you feel.

Mrs. B. Roth said...

Such a lovely blog you write! We have a tender-hearted boy at our house and I struggle to make sure I am always a soft place to land. This post is a perfect solution for how simple and necessary it is to mend a bruised relationship.

ms. changes pants while driving said...


why IS it that we have to be right and they have to be wrong? they're only thismany. i found myself doing the same thing to a five year old relative. they were OBVIOUSLY wrong.

sheesh. when will we grow up?

glad you made up. and i love your love saying.

Issas Crazy World said...

You are awesome. That is all. :)

mo.stoneskin said...


That reminded me, I read a book called "I'll love you forever" to my baby. She doesn't understand it yet, but one day she will.

Peggy said...

So, what were ya fightin' about? Just kidding! That was some darn good Mommyness right there!

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

Reading this made my heart happy.

lynn said...

Your post is validation for me. My husband leaves every 3 weeks for only 5 days and when he's gone, I struggle with a 4yr and 16 month old. The 4 year old gets the brunt of everything and when hubby is back, I make a special point to take her out and have some fun. I tell her how much I love her and how it's hard for us to have daddy away and I'm sorry for this and that. It makes us feel so much better... to be real.

Anonymous said...

Brought tears to my glad you fixed it. Peace.

The Scholastic Decoder said...

Pumpkinpie, when she is mad at me for some argument or another, will parrot my own line back to me, "Remember, I always love you, mama, even when I am upset with you." It feels so crummy to have those times with our wee, but sometimes those clashes of will come for good reason. But does it ever wear a parent down, even so!

Heidi said...

Ack, break my heart. How sweet is that. You are a good mom to make amends. Sounds like a good ending to a tough starting day.

Christine said...

We all have those days, good for you to recognize and fix it.

yeyo1803 said...

thank you for your post, so true! and good parenting, congrats. Communication is crucial with all relations. Laurie Puhn, a relationship communications expert talks how priorities come into conflict and how should you manage. Here is more if you are interested in reading a bit more:

Kelly said...

I get into this more often than I'd like. Sometimes I feel like I'm perpetually gearing up for a fight.