I see who you are. I see who you are becoming.
One minute you are laughing and wrestling with your brother, the next minute he is screaming. He is screaming and you are looking at me, waiting for my response. Your face is half-hidden behind your DS. I see fear in your eyes.
When you pinched his arm tonight, I got mad. I got really mad. I yelled.
You ran upstairs and sat on your bed. I put the computer down and hugged him, not you. I held him. I talked to him.
Your shaky and scared voice found me in the kitchen 10 minutes later, "Mama, can I get up now and go to the bathroom?"
I stomped up the stairs. "Go to the bathroom. Brush your teeth. Get into bed. I’m done with you. Why would you pinch your brother? Is that something we do? We do not behave that way. We do not hurt other people. I am very disappointed in you."
I did not yell. I screamed. My face was ugly. My eyes stared into yours.
You were scared. You were scared of me. Tears squeezed out.
My voice came down, almost a whisper, "I am so disappointed in you."
Into your bed you went, alone, at 7:30. No bath. No books. No wiggling and giggling in your brother’s bed. No goodnight hugs. No asking questions. No Daddy home to rescue you from your Mama’s wrath.
Who are you becoming? Are you a child full of love? Are you a kind and gentle child? A child who is spoken to and not yelled at?
I am not really disappointed in you. It’s what older siblings do, right? Pinch their brothers? Scratch their sisters? Lock each other out of the house?
I am disappointed in myself.
I’m sorry, Simon. I’m sorry that you were scared of me. I put these words here for you now, in hopes that you will read them later.
Tomorrow? Tomorrow I’ll be better. I’ll yell less. I’ll put the computer down. I’ll engage.
I see who I do not want to be as your Mother.
I’m so disappointed.