You’re not terrible.

Tonight during our interminable bedtime ritual, the rollercoaster of “I love you…when will this nonsense end…I love you…I can’t take this one more stinking minute…I love you…good god what is it now,” Spouse did something silly. And Three found it horrible. And I told the little guy, to stave off the raging insanity that is a three-year-old Butter freakfest, that Daddy was only trying to be silly, and that it didn’t turn out the way he’d hoped.

And somehow in there, I said, in my best silly voice, “because Daddy is Terrible.”

Immediately, Seven said in just the right voice, “He’s not terrible.” And my sweet Peanut wrapped his arms around my neck and sat in my lap and whispered, “He’s not terrible and you’re not terrible. Everyone makes mistakes. You make mistakes. He makes mistakes. Everyone alive makes at least one mistake in their life. Probably more.”

And I kissed his head and told him he was right and brilliant.

And I waited until later to cry.

Because what I’ve waited for, in my pathetic, childish, needy way, has been for my children to show me the kindness I never show myself. To hear a thank you, to be told to ease up a bit. To be told I’m not as terrible as I think I am.

And my almost-second-grader whispered kindly in my ear that I should cut myself and my husband some slack.

I’m not an expert at anything. But I’m pretty sure that’s as close to perfection as life gets.

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15 thoughts on “You’re not terrible.

  1. Even more important in my mind’s eye is look at what YOU’VE taught! Compassion. Forgiveness. He would not know these things if you hadn’t shown him. So yah, put the whip away.

  2. i instantly teared up. i can’t wait for this moment. i have two & they are irish twin babies…14 mos and 4 mos. both extremely affectionate but i still feel – indescribable, i suppose. this was good tho & helpful,

    • Oh, dear, those are intense phases. Hope you’re sleeping at least a bit, eating regularly, and getting the weekly shower. Hang in there. Eventually they will thank you with words. For now, they stop crying when you hold them, which is pretty big.

      • (: thank you so much. and i’m so relieved to learn that taking one to two showers a week is permissible at this time. i’m sure as they get older, my showers will increase.

        • I’m not going to disabuse you of that surety. I just know that my frequency hasn’t increased much. They have to be safe, not fighting, and occupied if I’m to shower. And that happens…um…let’s pretend it happens three times a week, okay? ;-)

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