Saturday, April 26, 2008

I Don't Hate You

While transporting children, the Matron overheard the following between two strapped-in five year olds:

Friend: "My mom doesn't like taking care of me."

Merrick: "My mom hates me."

Friend: "My mom doesn't hate me. She just hates taking CARE of me."

Merrick: "Well. My mom hates me."

Merrick, the Matron understands that she should whisk you to your room each and every time this phrase flies off your lips. Should children utter these words to one another, they are punished.

Occasionally, you hurt yourself. Your mother will rush toward you.

"Go away! You hate me!"

Or, you request an ice cream cone at the very moment the Matron is setting the table for dinner. She must say no.

"You hate me!"

The Matron is fairly certain she knows the origins of the phrase, the emotional kernel of the sentiment (which she understands is not hate).

Because frequently, you will rush into the kitchen holding your penis, requesting an audience to watch that instrument do its work, just as the Matron is in the midst of complex culinary swirl. She will roll her eyes and sigh in exasperation-- and then go with you.

"You hate me!"

Or she is carrying two backpacks, one purse, one stuffed parrot, three books, bag of Cheetos, and one grocery bag from van to care and you yell: "Mama! Help me find my sword!"

When she alerts you to the fact that she is otherwise occupied and that once this load has been lightened, she must let the barking dogs back in and immediately turn around and drive Stryker to baseball, you say this:

"You hate me!"

You see, Merrick, your mother doesn't hate you. It's simply that-- from your perspective--she must be so astoundingly frequently unavailable to you. She's right there! Why can't she throw the ball, find the doggie, fix the turtle or find the baseball bat?

So when your friend says his mother hates taking care of him, it's just that we--the Mamas of the world -- would love nothing more than a wide landscape of time, money and psyche that would allow us to be with you in ways that are bigger, better and more interesting than wiping butter off your face or watching you brush your teeth.

If the Matron didn't have dinner to make or Scarlett to transport, yes, she'd play with you. If she didn't have to go to teach Saturday mornings, she would not mind finding Freddie the Frog in your toy chest. Better yet, she would prefer to go on a bide ride or read a book.

Today, Merrick, your mother has 50 people coming to her house in under three hours. She's sorry she doesn't have time to paint that bench purple or braid string.

But she doesn't hate you. And she will stop her party preparations to take you to the bathroom, find the cream colored socks, and even read a book, once. Just a fraction of your requests, she knows.

But she's trying.


Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

Amen. You just captured my week, tapping dancing is fast as my feet will take me and still, just not being enough.


(Hope your event today is fun; that's a lot of people.)

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

It sounds like you fulfill quite a few of his needs--I definitely wouldn't worry.

Minnesota Matron said...

Make that over 70 people! Just got the people count. We're hosting the appetizer portion of our rockin' neighborhood's progressive dinner!!

Mrs. G. said...

I think most of the world's mothers would like a copy of this to hand out to each kid at various times.

Have a great party!

Jocelyn said...

How you managed to capture the essence of all parenthood in this one post is astonishing. I am finding myself quite addicted to your thinking and writing, you know.

It is so very much about wishing for more time to be deliberate with each child--while, simultaneously, still knowing we'd rather be satisfying our own selves by reading a book. The hope is that the kid will grow up and get to a vantage point that allows for looking back with appreciation and affection, eh?

Holy Bajeesus on the appetizers.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

Just lovely. Well said.

And I hope you can catch a breath after feeding 70 people before you have to watch anyone pee.

Fairlie - said...

So well put. True of parents everywhere.

Irene said...

Still, there is something wrong with a little boy that goes around claiming that his mother hates him. That needs looking into.

I'm a grandma, if anybody is wondering.

Jennifer S said...

My daughter reverses the phrase, and says, "I hate you." For all the same reasons you listed. I think a lot of kids go through this?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm no one has said this to me just yet. Perhaps they really do hate me. Must go have chat...

Happy party!

Tricia said...

I keep a constant chant going in my head..."This too shall pass...This too shall pass." It helps drown out the feeling of being unappreciated.

Anonymous said...

We have heard this from ours...
...I always reply with -
"Well, I LOVE you!"