I looked at my little girl, laying in a grouchy heap on the couch. I thought briefly about how it is better not to react to hurtful statements like that, how she didn't actually mean it, and how it's totally normal. But, since I was already in the process of reacting (I mean, really, really reacting), it was too late to consider that option.
"What?? There's nothing that you could say to hurt me more, Lizzie! Go to time-out!"
William and Antwan immediately came rushing out asking "What did she say??" and "Do you need a hug?"
I didn't repeat what she said, but took the hugs. I took a moment to quietly sob in the kitchen, then got back to it.
Now, this is not how I would have planned to respond if I had the opportunity to prepare the script ahead of time. But, in this improvisational life that we all lead, that is how it went down.
In some cases, this may have had some profound negative effect. But, luckily, in this case, it just led to an annoyed 7 year old flouncing to the time-out chair. After all, she wasn't trying to hurt me or give me a clue of some mixed emotions that she was feeling (not this time, anyway). She was really ticked off that I intended to make her go to homeschool P.E. class. Despite the fact that we go every Tuesday and Thursday, she is still surprised and irritated by it each time.
When I went to the Time-Out chair, explained to her why she was there, and asked her to say she was sorry; she did and we moved on. I knew that she hadn't learned a valuable lesson and I also knew that I was too emotional to try to explain it to her at the time. Plus, we were going to be late to P.E....again. Why are we always late every where??
I had always known that, at some point, I would hear "I hate you" or "You're not my real mother." And, I knew that I wouldn't react well. But, for some reason, "I wish someone else had adopted me" hadn't occurred to me. As if we were just random parental units that could be switched out for better models. I also assumed that comments like that would come later, in the teen years. You know, when I didn't let her go to that party, spend the night at her friend's on a school night, or leave the house wearing that outfit. I didn't think I would hear something like this when I was trying to insure her physical health at the YMCA.
I sent a dramatic text to a friend and dragged my kids out of the house...metaphorically speaking, thankfully. By the time that we were in the van, everything had shifted, and everyone was cheerful. And, by the time that I got a response from my friend, I wasn't even particularly upset anymore. I saw it for what it was.
To paraphrase myself in a previous blog post, adoption adds another layer of stuff to deal with. Sometimes that means that you are dealing with your child's deeply instilled insecurities and they say hurtful things or make inexplicable bad choices out of reaction to those insecurities. But, sometimes that means that you have heaped so much love onto your child that she feels totally secure and comfortable lashing out at you when you have the audacity to take her to a P.E. class.
At the end of the day, I'd call that a success. But, that sassy little girl better not ever say that to me again. ;)
Do we wish someone else had adopted you, Lizzie? Not for a single moment of a single day....