The mortification when you realise your empathy fails and your immediate reaction is to lash out. My hand is still stinging … and my heart still racing. And I want to cry. This is not how I imagined this evening.
I have been so excited all weekend watching my biggest boy having the most wonderful adventure on school camp.. I was so excited to pick him up and hear all his news. But I could tell the moment he got in to the car next to me he was beyond tired. His voice hoarse and his body language just shouted exhaustion.
I knew it was going to have to be a gentle hour or so and early to bed.. A hot soapy shower, a cuddle on the sofa, some pasta, a movie… and up to bed before 7.
As he realised it was only 6.54, the tired anger lashed out of him. WE DON’T GO TO BED BEFORE 7. WHY AM I GOING TO BED?
My calm rationalisation wasn’t enough for him – my calm repetition of cleaning teeth and going to the loo, only fuelled the anger in him. His face getting redder. WHERE IS DADDY? I HATE YOU! I AM WAITING FOR DADDY TO GET HOME! WHY DON’T YOU RING HIM YOU STUPID LADY…. And so on.
I know he is tired. I know he wanted to see his Daddy, his hero on Father’s Day … tell him all about his weekend..
I am calm. I am so calm and aching for my tired little man…
So I am mortified that as Tom’s tired rage fires up, and his heavy electric toothbrush is fired at my head, my shocked reaction is to slap him hard on the shoulder.
My eyes are mirrored in his. Our blue eyes, identically golden flecked reflecting back at each other in shock. He darts past me and I am left stunned.
As I kiss Willy goodnight in another room, I hear Tom’s little sobs and shouts of GO AWAY!
10 minutes and I have let the situation diffuse. I sneak in and lie by Tom. Ruffle his hair and he tells me about his weekend.. and we apologise and kiss, nose to nose.
All is forgiven between us.
But can I forgive myself?