Thursday, August 27, 2009

Matters of the Heart

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.


Mike and Beckie said...

oh my gosh, I am in tears just reading this. What would I do if my son said that to me?

You are an amazing, loving, caring, a wonderful example to all of us mothers type of woman.

Annette Lyon said...

I had a similar experience the other night when my daughter misinterpreted a situation--she thought I must love her brother more. I nearly killed me.

The blessing in all this is that at least she told you do you knew and could talk it out. What if she'd never said anything and just felt that way her whole life--and you never knew?

Mamma Christine said...

What a tender, honest, beautiful post. I agree with Annette, what a blessing that she told you. Every child feels this way, at one time or another, I think, but not every child is brave enough to vocalize it and seek for a resolution. To me this shows how much she trusts you. She's willing to be vulnerable, so deep down, something inside knows you don't want to hurt her.

Heather (wife to Dave, mom to Jenna and Adam) said...

beautiful. isn't being a mom the best?! glad your daughter could see you loving her that much.

Michelle said...

Here's the thing... we are all here just doing out best. And, you do your best pretty darn well. And while we all have moments when we feel like the world is unfair and life is unjust, she knows you love and like her. She does.

Just to make you feel better, that post made me feel better that I'm not the only mom that things like that happen to...

uniquelynat said...

*sob* i can't turn off my tears right now. i know how much you love her...and each of your children. and i know my little addie sometimes feels that way too. and so maybe i am crying more for me than you...cause i can see her and myself in that situation. and it's not a situation i can picture you in at all. not knowing how much you love your babies and how much more special they are to you than anyone in the world...except maybe the husband.

i love you steph! you're a great mom!!! (and sister)

Ginny said...

I read your post just as i'm heading out the door! I'm crying, now i need to re-do my makeup! Thanks steph! You seriously are the best mommy and I look up to you a lot!!! Thanks for being an awesome example to me! I love you sister!

Denise @ Sunflowers, Chocolate and Little Boys said...

Your post left me in tears. I am so sorry you had to have that talk with your precious daughter. But I hope that it helps each of us reading it to know that we DO need to think about how we talk and act towards our children.
Now I need to go sit and think for awhile, then get up and make sure my kids feel liked and loved.
Thank you so much for sharing, I know that must have been just as hard. But I believe that it will help a few people, including me.

The Head Eagle said...


Sandi and Curtis said...

Those moments are hard. I think every parent goes through at some point of a child's life. Thank you for sharing this story to help us all "reading your blog" remember how we act and what we say...translate more than we realize!

mom and dad said...

Oh, my sweet precious baby! How you touched my heart..because I love you so and I relate..just know that these are things expressed at times by most little ones..just to be reassured.. I know you love your babies beyond life itself. I remember once when Gin was having a difficult time and continued to cry and I tried to comfort her,(she was just about 3 yrs) but that's not what she wanted..she just kept crying that she wanted "her mommie"..that shook me because I was right there, but apparently I wasn't the "mommie" she wanted. To this day I still stumble over's nice we all experience "motherhood" so viberantly

HollyB said...

sniff, sniff, I am sorry you had to deal with that pain, I can only imagine. But its a blessing to you and her how you handled the situation. I had many times like that as a child... still do, and my mom did not handle it the way you did. I think things may have been different if she assured me of her love instead of fought off my feelings.

Ruth P said...

Break my heart! Things like this really shake us because we live for our kids. We do everything for them! And it hurts when they can't see that. You are a wonderful mother and example to me. And you have the sweetest kids. I have noticed that since my kids have started school back up they need more love and reassurance. I don't know if it is from unfriendly experiences at school or just the time away from home, but mine have been more "needy" these past two weeks. You handled the experience so beautifully. Love you!

Heidi said...

I think with school starting they just need a little more from us when all the voices around them are so loud and inconsistent, they need our consistency and unconditional love. Even when that means making them wear shoes they don't want to cuz they have PE that day. Tough love is hard!! You guys really do have a great relationship. Hang in there!