“Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one.” –Benjamin Franklin
The piercing wails of my firstborn reverberated inside my head. It pained me. I clenched my teeth and hissed, “That’s enough!” I’d had it. Again. My rational self felt small and impotent, a passive bystander to a hostile takeover. It marveled that a petite three-year-old could bring this fury out of me. Possessed by emotion, I grabbed her by the hand and sternly yanked her forward.
What happened next, I would like to claim was the result of the lack of physics in my formal education. Her thin form shot past me with far more momentum than I had anticipated. I watched in slow motion as her sweet, distraught face slammed into the door frame. A split second before her face collided with the wood, that molten fury filling my veins evaporated. In an instant, it drained away leaving only ice in its wake.
Even as contact was made, I snatched her back to me. The worst of the potential impact was averted, but it was not enough. Her frightened screams haunted me and a sort of horrified numbness took over. As her tears soaked my shirt, I knelt there with her in my arms and I begged God to help me stop this insanity. I clutched her so tightly she began to squirm.
In despair, I realized that the bogeyman in my daughter’s life was me.
Let me first say, that sharing that memory is incredibly painful. I don’t particularly enjoy owning it, let alone offering it for public consumption, but I feel the Lord saying, “It is time.” I wish I could tell you that I became a completely different person that day but, while I was very careful to never again allow my anger to manifest physically, I continued to be controlled by my temper.
Most who know me now would be surprised and appalled at the type of mama I used to be. I was reactionary and impatient. I would blow up and spew verbal vomit on my children. I got angry far too easily. Worse, I sometimes liked it. At times I felt downright righteous in my anger at their wayward ways. My tirades became so common, my children no longer flinched. They knew if they could just hunker down, the volcanic nature of my emotions would soon burn out and we could all get on with our day.