Sunday was a day... I've noticed that if I have a day off, I can't spend it laying around "resting". If I lay around, I get sleepy and if I sleep, I get grouchy. This is what happened Sunday. Nathan wasn't sure he was ready to handle church and Lowell worked overtime so instead of leaving a little 8 year old home alone, I thought it better for us all to stay home. So, I rested on the couch and caught up on some TV. And then I got sleepy and took a nap. And woke up in a terrible mood. I knew I would, I don't know why I even thought that taking a nap would be a good idea....
So I worked on it, I thought about it and tried to reason myself out of my funk. I tried to talk myself into a better mood, I read my Bible to try to get out of my grouchiness... But nothing was successful. And then I blew up. At Chloe. Of course it was at Chloe. She receives the brunt of my attitude every time I'm grouchy. I've talked about this before - I have yet to understand why I continually direct my anger at her...
Anyway, I blew and then I knew that I needed to talk to her. I knew that I wasn't being fair and that I was only distancing my daughter from me. I was doing the exact thing that I wanted to avoid and I was screwing up... But my heart still wasn't soft. I was still grouchy and upset. So, I prayed for God to give me words, or grace or a new attitude or a slap in the face or whatever I needed to be able to approach my daughter humbly and apologize to her for being a horrible mom.
I found her in the bathroom crying. So I knocked on the door and then sat on the floor to wait for her to open it.
When she came out, I hugged her and pulled her into my lap and asked her what she had done wrong. She didn't have an answer and so I held her little face and looked at her and said, "That's because you didn't do anything wrong. Absolutely nothing. It was all me. I screwed up and lost my temper and was angry at you and you did nothing wrong."
Overall, our conversation lasted almost an hour. I apologized to her over and over again and I let her know that my anger comes from inside, from other issues and that she is not to blame at all. I let her know that I was making mistakes and that, growing up, I wondered why my mom left and if it was my fault. I told her that she did not need to wonder if any of this was her fault because I was telling her right here and now - she was doing nothing wrong. She cried and clung to me and I apologized over and over again. I told her that I didn't want her to grow up to be like me...
Then I asked her if she had anything she wanted to say. I told her that I know I don't always make it easy for her to talk to me - that I growl at her or seem angry, but that I really, really want her to feel safe coming to me.... And that I know how many mistakes I'm making and that I'm really trying to get better...
Do you know what that little girl said?
My 7 year old daughter. After being completely disrespected by her mother.
She said, "I love you no matter what you do, Mommy. And I want to grow up to be like you because you're my mom."
That was the slap in the face that I had prayed for.
At that point, I just hugged her and told her I loved her while we both cried.
I'm still confused as to why my anger gets directed at her and I'm still heartbroken about how our relationship is so complicated. But I'm also refocused on how I act. Who cares how I feel, right? It is more important to act rightly than feel rightly. Feelings can be deceptive, the most important thing for me is to show my daughter that I love her. Because I do. I really do. Soooo very much. And I'm so humbled by her love for me. I don't deserve it AT ALL, but I'm thankful for it.
I hope that I can be a better mom to her. And I'm thankful for the connection we had Sunday. Next time, I hope it isn't because I lost my temper, but just because she's my daughter.