Every time I think I have learned something about parenting I find out the lesson didn't stick.
The lesson to be relearned for today was, "they don't have to like you, they just have to be loved by you." I am usually okay when one of the kids is furious with me, but when it's two at once? Then I have the toughest time being firm.
This morning, so far, I have two of three ready to move out, I think. I was still okay when the first one looked at me with disgust and spat out angry words, but then the second one got angry with something I said (and Barry told me that second one had reason, I wasn't listening as much as I was yakking at this child) and stomped out of the room. In fact, there was a lot of stamping and slamming things around this morning, between the two of them. I apologized to the second one for not listening as much as I should have, and the apology was most certainly not accepted. The first one wasn't speaking to me at all by the time that child left for school.
I barely saw them out the door before falling apart. Part of me is constantly doubting myself: I want them to like me as well as love me and it hurts so much when they don't. I really shouldn't care, not at this stage in our lives. They don't need a friend, they need a mother. On the other hand, I do fall into the same patterns over and over again: With one, I talk way too much, and with another, not nearly enough. In both cases, I think I do not listen enough. (Surprise, surprise. "Not talking" does not equal "good listening.")
The last one,the little one, usually still likes me. I need to appreciate these days while I still have them, because someday she'll be a young lady searching for independence and struggling against the restrictions of growing up as part of a family. For now, though, she still wants to be hugged, still wants my opinion, still craves time with me. Thank God for little ones. And the big ones, too; they're just harder on the heart.