A year and a half ago I punished Hannah for some unremembered incident and did not take her to a local art festival with her sisters. Two days ago while driving to the mall Hannah recalled the incident and asked why she did not go. I told her I did not remember. This escalated into a full blown "snit fit" ( a phrase I once heard my aunt and uncle use and find extremely apropos). After a few rounds of me telling Hannah to get over it and her insisting we talk about how she did not deserve to be punished I told her the conversation was over and refused to engage in her tantrum. The more I refused to respond, the greater the "snit fit" grew until the ultimate curse of "I hate you" sprang forth. My response? "I love you!" This prompted her sisters to chime in with a series of "I love yous". It was one great big love fest with the exception of Hannah; her mouth set, and arms crossed as she glared at her traitorous sisters.
Then the most wonderful thing occurred. Silence. It was beautiful, serene, and lasted about 2 minutes. Hannah was the first to break the silence. "Mom?" At this point I was triumphantly expecting a huge apology and was promising myself as I waited that I would not rub it in would accept it graciously as an adult and role model.
"Can you buy me something at Claire's when we get to the mall?'
I was still driving so she did not see the look that passed across my face. All of the higher ground I was standing on crumbled beneath my feet.
"Hannah, would YOU buy something for someone who hates you?"
©2011 Amy E. Silverstein. All rights reserved.