Several weeks ago, one night at bedtime, my son Ezra (7) got overly exhausted and intensely triggered, and in his fury he yelled at me, viciously: “You aren’t even my MOM!!” And then, fuming, spitting, he said: “You are such a fucking!!”
I felt astonishingly calm in the face of his foul-mouthed rage. In fact, I found myself earnestly reflective in the mirror of his feedback, thinking to myself: Hm….? Yep. Sometimes I really sort of am a fucking.
I ran him a bath, insisted he get in it, much to his incredulous horror, and then helped him to his bed, while he continued to lash out, screaming at me to stay away from him. “You are NOT my mom!” he said a few times. And~ “Don’t you even touch me!”
I said things like: “I will give you space.”
And: “I AM your mom, and I love you very much even when you’re so angry at me.”
He said: “No. No you aren’t and NO YOU DON’T. And I DON’T love you!”
I sat quietly on the couch in the living room, about 15 feet from his bed, honoring his expressed desire for space, and sadly listened to him sob himself to sleep. My heart ached to feel his pain, and my own grief in the face of such disconnect.
Once, I called out to him: “Oh Ezra~ can I please hold you and comfort you now? I don’t want you to go to sleep so upset.” He growled between his sobs: “NO! You cannot!”
And so he fell asleep, like that. Alone, angry, sad.
It felt like the end of an era.
For the first time, in all his 7 years and 3 months of life, he was so mad at me he didn’t even want to make up. He didn’t even want to be comforted.
He didn’t want my touch, my hands, my heart, my voice.
No more baby to whom I could offer my soothing love.
No longer was I the sun, moon and the stars who could do no wrong. Just a fucking.
After he had fallen asleep I snuck into his bedroom and slipped a huge crystal under his covers, next to his heart. Then I carefully lay down beside him, spooning him, filling him with my love. I listened to his shuddery breath~ still unwinding emotion even in his sleep.
I kissed the back of his heart and the top of his damp, curly head.
I whispered into his sleeping ear how dearly I treasure him.
I vowed to love him ever-more-deeply, through all the fights we would ever have in our shared lifetime. I vowed to never lose sight of the amazing heart he is. This amazing, passionate, fierce and sensitive soul that he is. I vowed to let all of our interactions, especially the challenging ones, only deepen this love that I serve.
The next morning, as I lay in my bed, just barely awake, my eyes still closed, I felt Ezra crawl into bed with me and move his body close up into my back, spooning me, wrapping his little arm around me. I could hear the weight in his breath, and could feel his tender heart, pulsing with remorse. We lay quietly together, in the spacious morning silence.
Finally I said softly, with openness: “Good morning Beautiful Boy.”
And he said all in one whispery breath: “I’m really, really sorry Mama. Sorry I had a big fit at bedtime and told you you weren’t my mom.”
I turned around to face him and gathered him into my arms, kissing his forehead.
I said: “You were really angry. Sometimes when we are angry we say things we wish we didn’t. I know that we always love each other, even when we are angry. I always know the truth of your heart.”
He nodded, and pressed his face into my chest, sighing with relief.
He said: “I DO ALWAYS love you Mom.”
And I said: “Yes, Love. We always love.”