You shared your snack with me, walking over to me and placing your precious fruit snack into the palm of my hand. "Really? This is for me?" "Yes, Mama. Eat it!"
I listened through the baby monitor as you and your brother played upstairs in your room, something truly new and exciting. Later I learned that the two of you had built a little city on the floor of your room, out of train tracks and buildings. There was even a large dinosaur in the middle of your city, standing watch over your playtime. I could hear your brother
You sat in your chair at dinner and ate. One quarter of a sloppy joe and one french fry. A slice of peach stolen out of your daddy's fruit salad. There was no food thrown on the floor. No screaming. No need for me to remove you from the table. No spilled drinks or purposeful spitting at me.
A nice day. Still full of pull up changes and screaming "no!" when I try to bring you to the potty. Still full of "use your gentle hands" and "please look at me". Still loud and crazy and full of boyish energy. Still full of cars flying across the kitchen floor, screaming over not being allowed to play with your big brother's stuffed baby hamster, still full of dirt and grass stains and the normal little boy fun and messiness. Still full of hyper activity. But a nice day. A good day.
Good days or not so good days, bedtime is still a mystery. So often, nearly daily, really, you break my heart. You break my heart almost every night. It is especially painful after a good day. It is so hard not to wallow in the pain of your disinterest. It is difficult to remember the good over the not so good. You climb into your bed and roll away from me, refusing to show me your beautiful eyes. You demand books but you refuse to sit still or listen as I read. You chatter over me or simply wander away. If it is a particularly bad moment you scream and spit at me as I lie next to you on your bed, trying to figure out what the trigger is, trying to figure out what is happening here. I pull you towards me and hold you against my body. You scream at me, telling me I am hurting you. I am barely holding you. This is not pain, little one. This is a hug. This is love. And it doesn't hurt. It helps, if you will only let it. You escape my grip and roll away from me. I duck as you wing your books, toys, and shoes at my head. If it is in your bed, you throw it at me. I catch each item and toss it behind me into your large toy basket, which makes you even angrier. I wait until your missiles are gone and you have nothing to throw. I pull you towards me again. You scream and spit and kick at me. Sometimes I can feel you relaxing in my arms until your head falls onto the pillow, and we can start the bedtime process all over again. We can talk about your day and look through a book. Sometimes we can get to that place where you allow me to cover you up with your favorite blanket and sometimes, if I am really lucky, you repeat it back when I say "I love you."
Sometimes I walk away while you are screaming, calling back to you that I love you and that I will always be here for you. Sometimes I go into the office, which shares a wall with your bed. I sit in my desk chair, tears in my eyes, absent mindedly surfing the net while I listen to you thrash about in your bed, screaming at me. Screaming for me. I walk back into your room. You have reloaded, and so now you throw a pillow or another shoe at me. I walk out. I hear you screaming my name. In and out. In and out. Anger, mixed with sadness, creeps into my body. Sometimes this passes and you are calm when I walk out that final time. Sometimes I tag your daddy in and go hang with my super loving six year old. Sometimes I walk away and go find the wine.
Later, when I have finished that wine, or when I have kissed your older brother goodnight, or when I have cried to my sweet husband for the hundredth time, I sneak back into your room and sit on your bed. I cover you up and rub your back and whisper into your sleeping ear. Later, I can remember the great moments throughout the day, and I can tell myself that this was just a moment. It was not a definition of our lives together, you and me. It was just a moment. Yes, there are many moments like this. Too many moments like this, right now. But it was just a blink of an eye. And we will do our dance again tomorrow. Because what I whispered into your sleeping ear is true. "I am your mommy. I love you, and I always will. I will help you lose this anger and confusion, your "angry insides", as we call it. I will fight for you, my son, every day. While you fight me, I will fight for you."