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There’s a Heartache Tonight

We had a rough afternoon.  Period.

Mac was particularly moody, unkind, disrespectful, inconsolable. . .

I tried to help him.

I tried.

There were moments when I was feeling less than charitable with the “amenities”  he was demanding this evening after the time out for scratching my face. . .or dragging Teddy across the room on his back by one leg. . .or when he intentionally pooped in his pants and then said “Mommy to clean up.”

I also didn’t appreciate the fucking debacle that was our afternoon play date.  Mac spit all over the floor repeatedly – and once on the coffee table.  He threw toys.  His behavior was so deplorable that we left after 30 minutes.  And Mac made sure we made a grand exit:  Scratching me.  Kicking me.  Scream-whining. . .all the stuff a three-year old can muster.

Sigh.

He’s making it clear he’s his own person.

And let’s be honest: In his world, I’m the oppressor.  I still have a tremendous amount of power – although he’s VERY adept at usurping as much as he possibly can. . .

Which is why when I put Teddy to bed tonight and Mac called out to me from his bed and grabbed my hand and pulled me close to his face and smiled and said, “Tomorrow?  We can have fun and treats tomorrow?”

I was elated.  And mortified.

“Yes sweet boy.  Tomorrow will be great.  Sleep tight,” I said.

“Mommy to hold hand?  Mommy to stay here?” he asked.

Chris:  “Until tomorrow, Mackinley. . .” Motioning for me to get the hell out of the room as I start to tear up a little. . .prying my hand away from Mac’s firm grip. . .

Gasp.

I’m witnessing a fight for independence and autonomy.  Mac is growing, learning. . .

Mommy is out of favor. . .

Except for those small moments just before sleep. . .when one craves a snuggle or security or reassurance. . .

And Mac whispers “And tomorrow, we are going to. . .” waiting for me to finish the sentence, to outline a day full of adventures. . .providing routine.  Stability.  Mommy provides stability.

And finally feeling charitable again, I happily indulge him.

Because if ever a child needs indulged, it’s the moments just before sleep. . .

And if ever a Mother needs indulged, it’s on days like this. . .

Maybe, just maybe, in the space that is the sweet, soft, cotton candy-watercolor sky. . .dusk to darkness repeating again in reverse at day break. . .Maybe in that space, we find our best selves?  Or practice to be in our dreams?