Monday, January 21, 2013
Even when he hates me
I. Hate. You.
I want to be ready and prepare my heart for it, knowing that it will surely come. I remember writing in my diary as a tween, "I hate my parents." I didn't hate them, but I was angry and frustrated... and a tween with confusing emotions running through my veins at full gallop. I remember telling my mom, "I don't like you" and her answer would always be, with a smile, "Right now, I don't like you either, but I will always love you."
And there is the comfort, and the saving grace. I will always love you. When my son started talking, and hitting, and talking back, I read somewhere that children act out in environments where they feel trust and love, because they know they can. Not that they will be spoiled or that bad behavior will be tolerated, but they know they will be corrected, set back on course, and still given unconditional love.
When he says these three words, it will hurt. It will surely create a fissure in my heart that will heal with the next "I love you, Mom." We are raising our son in a household of many kisses, hugs, and I love yous, from both me and my husband, and our extended family is very generous with love. Knowing that he has so many people in his life who love him unconditionally will give him the freedom to be angry with us and express his feelings.
My hope is that this will foster a better relationship for all of us. With enough love, patience, and affection, will he be comfortable sharing his hopes and fears with me? Will we do enough to ensure that we have strong, open communication between us?
This goes for marriage, too. My husband and I have been under some stress lately from various angles, and we have been short with each other. Quicker to anger than usual. Circling each other warily to ascertain each other's mood. And yet, underneath all of that is a rock-solid relationship.
The difference is trust. He is a man who sees the world in black and white, and moral ambiguity is unacceptable. So it's not just that I trust him on a night out with the boys, or that I trust him with women who are friends, or that I trust him with our money. It's the trust that comes from knowing someone always has your back; that divorce is not an option for normal stress and marital discord.
In my first marriage, we always had one foot out the door. "Fine. I'll just leave, then," he would say during every fight. I waited for that day until it finally came.
This time, those words are never spoken. We don't threaten divorce and we understand that we're going to get through this. One apology at a time. One I love you at a time. One revelation at a time.
Our son will know that we always have his back, because we practice it with each other. An argument doesn't mean the end of the relationship. Words spoken in anger do not mean they're true; at the same time, we are trying to teach him the effect of those words and how to avoid unnecessary hurt. We are teaching him that we are human, and that we all say things we don't mean when we're frustrated, angry, and upset.
What I hope he learns is that even when we don't like each other, we can still love each other. He can trust us with the harsh words, as much as we don't want to hear them. And when he's not angry anymore, he will remember the undercurrent of love that holds our lives together.