A couple of days ago, I read a post written by a woman whose children had asked her, in a completely ordinary moment, "Mom, why are you so mad?"
"I wasn’t even 'mad.' It was just another day. She was sitting on the potty and I had gone in to pick up the toy she dropped, for the third time. I must have let out a big sigh, which is what prompted her to ask me that question in her sweet little voice.
I immediately changed my attitude and put her little cheeks in my hands and said;
'I’m not mad! Why do you think I’m mad, sweetheart?'
I wish I could be this woman; I wish I could say of my reaction to my children's needs and demands and tantrums: I wasn't even mad.
The truth: I have been - am - so mad. Mad that they can't be grateful, or patient, or respectful, even though I know that these are qualities that emerge with time. Mad that I can't be gracious, or understanding, or calm.
Mad at myself for being mad.
I told my son that I was taking him on a special trip to the forest where the Ewoks from Star Wars live, and he yelled at me that he didn't want to go, that forests were boring. I didn't sit down with him in a quiet corner and try to parse out what about walking through an ancient forest filled with mile-high redwood trees made him feel so bored that he needed to scream about it; I just got mad.
Because I am. Mad. And sometimes, when you are mad, you are mean.