I had an unexpected early Mother's Day present today.
It started with a tantrum. Not a huge one by Miss M standards, but a tantrum nonetheless. I was doing a really good job of controlling my anger, until all of a sudden, she pushed me too far (I don't even remember what she did), and for a moment I snapped. Instead of the calm and controlled exterior I've been working on so hard this past year, Miss M found herself faced with a slightly-crazed Time-Bomb Mom.
Time-Bomb Mom is my alter ego. I wish she didn't exist at all, and while she doesn't visit as often as she used to, she sure doesn't stay away for as long as I'd like. One second I was calmly saying something to a raging 8-year-old (even though I was boiling inside), and the next I was picking her up to carry her to our "tantrum chair" (affectionately called the blue chair), nearly in a rage myself. In the midst of Miss M's kicking and screaming, Time-Bomb Mom thought it would be a good idea to yell something like this: "Do you hate me so much that you're going to treat me like this for no reason?! Is that how much you hate me?! Because you wouldn't do this if you didn't hate me! Why do you hate me so much?!"
Not my proudest mothering moment, true, (Time-Bomb Mom is a lousy parent) but the strangest thing happened when I repeated those words.
Miss M said she didn't hate me, and she stopped throwing a tantrum.
This may not seem like a big deal, but it is. Scott and I have often tried to explain the ferocity of these RAD tantrums to other people. We've always said (completely hypothetically) that if Miss M was in one of her rages, and if we told her that if she didn't stop we would cut off her arm, and even if she completely believed that we would do it, she would still be powerless to stop.
Yet today she stopped because she didn't want me to think she hated me. Which means that the love between us is stronger than her anger. It's stronger than her tantrums. Her love for her mom is stronger than the Attachment Disorder that often rules her life.
Which means that there is still hope for my little girl. And that is a priceless gift indeed.