I felt the sting as if she had literally gone into my heart and ripped it out.
I wasn’t giving in and neither was she. I knew the words would come eventually, I just assumed it would be years down the line when she’s a teenager. Not at five years old.
“I DON’T LIKE YOU!” she shouted.
“I REALLY DON’T LIKE YOU!” she yelled again.
It hurt. More than I ever imagined it would. She didn’t say she hated me, which I know is bound to happen one of these days. But the words still hurt the same. She’s five years old. Aren’t five-year-olds supposed to adore their moms still? Aren’t they supposed to look up to us and come to us for comfort when they have a bad dream or get their feelings hurt? They surely aren’t supposed to tell you they don’t like you, right?
I know she didn’t mean it — at least that’s what I’m telling myself. She came into the room later and told me she was sorry, completely on her own. I think she knew she really hurt me. Although she’s only five and probably had no idea what she was really saying, I don’t ever want to hear those words from her again.
I held back my anger, sadness, frustration, and all other emotions that overcame me in that moment to tell her to go to her room and sit down and relax. She stomped away as if to show me how much she didn’t like me in that moment, as though I were the worst person in the world.
And to her, in that moment, I probably was.
I let us both calm down before I went up to her room to talk to her. I didn’t want either of us to say anything else that we didn’t truly mean. We had a heart-to-heart about the words we say and how they can hurt others. All she wanted was a reaction out of me, but I’m old enough and wise enough to know that’s not going to happen.
I told her that her words hurt me, and that no matter how angry or upset I made her, she should never say those words to me or anyone else for that matter.
The truth is, she probably didn’t like me in that moment — and that’s okay. There are many moments in her life when she won’t get her way. I’m going to say “no” more times than she will like, and she will hold it against me. But that’s not the point. The point is that she said these things out of anger, with the intention of hurting me. And it did hurt. Mission accomplished. I don’t ever want her to treat me (or anyone else) like that — I don’t want to raise my daughter to be someone who aims to intentionally hurt others.
My kids don’t have to like me all the time, but they do have to show respect for me and for others. And even at the worst of times, I’ll always tell them (and show them) that I love them no matter what.
And to think, it was all over a snack too close to dinner time.