Yesterday my heart broke a little.
Oldest daughter, just seven years old, told me that she can tell I don't like her. And she wasn't using the manipulative, "You don't like me" tone of voice. She was using her, "You don't like me and I can't understand why because mommies should like their girls" tone of voice.
And, like I said, my heart broke a little. I didn't know how to respond. Especially when I know there is no way NOT to like her. In fact, I really like her. Love her even. It took us 6 long years to coax her from heaven, for goodness sake.
When I caught my breath again, I asked her why she felt like I didn't like her. And she told me that I don't treat her like I like her.
And my heart broke a little more. And I asked myself, "How do I treat her? I must not treat her as well as I think I do."
When I had regained a little heart, I invited her to come and sit with me. So we could talk it out.
As we made our way to the living room, my mind was a fishbowl of questions. And I didn't know which was the right one to ask. And which fish I should leave swimming.
Stalling for time, I pushed aside the pillows as I sat down on the couch and patted an invitation to her and her little bum to sit right beside me. She sat, and immediately turned away from me.
Finally, I convinced her to face me. As I looked into her little baby blues, obviously hurting, I couldn't hold back my tears. And I cried as I told her through a burning throat that I felt so sad that she feels like I don't like her. I assured her of my love for her. Of her importance in our family. Of the need we have for her in our family. And how I believe she is our most important example.
And it was the first time she has seen me cry a hurt cry. Because she has seen me cry happy cries many times. And don't get me started on spiritual cries. And it shocked her.
And it was too much for me. I had to retreat to the loft after a few minutes. I don't think that is how a mother should do it. Retreating.
Not 2 minutes later, I heard little footsteps up the stairs and in no time a little blond angel was standing in front of me. Offering apologies. Where she had no need. I should have been the one asking forgiveness.
We were able to talk and make amends. And I think she knows I like her. But, does she truly know- even more importantly- I love her?
Yesterday (not unlike many days before) I was lead by a child. And learned important things about the heart of a mother and never retreating.