“Mommy is coming downstairs,” I heard my mom say to my eldest daughter. They were working on an art project while my other two daughters were napping.
“I don’t like her,” My almost-four-year-old said matter-of-factly.
My heart fell to the pit of my stomach. We’ve been at odds. She’s strong-willed and lately has been testing me at every waking moment. This forces me to be policing and disciplining her nonstop.
“If you touch your sister one more time, you’re going to timeout!”
“Don’t throw that toy!”
To be honest, I’m not sure if I like her most of the time lately, either. She’s been mean to her sister, whinny, and frankly, a little bratty (something only a mother can say).
But those words still made me pause because they stung.
𝘐 𝘮𝘢𝘺 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶, 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘐’𝘭𝘭 𝘢𝘭𝘸𝘢𝘺𝘴 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶.
I didn’t think the pattern would start so young. I thought I’d get a free pass until the teenage years when hormones decide to go on ragers, and she’ll not like me during the entirety of those benders. Those will be the years when she’ll slam the door dramatically yelling, “𝘐 𝘩𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶!” because I didn’t let her go to her friend’s house when the parents weren’t home.
And I’ll say, “I don’t like you right now, either.”
𝘉𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘐 𝘸𝘰𝘯’𝘵.
And even though the words will make my heart skip a beat—I know it’ll pass. That we’ll come back to each other—just like an hour after she uttered those hurtful words to my mom, when she stumbled and skidded her knee. At that moment, all she wanted was me, her mommy, to make her feel better. And all I wanted to do was love on her, like mothers do.
I won’t always like her and she won’t always like me—but we will always love each other.
Because that’s what family does, they love—𝘢𝘭𝘸𝘢𝘺𝘴.
This piece originally appeared at Living a FULL Life, published with permission.