Thursday, April 2, 2009

'I don't love you anymore,' she said

Ashlyn has been revisiting her terrible twos of late. Nostalgia, maybe.

Not that the terribles are even about being two. Brielle began hers around 18 months. Ashlyn's were at their nadir when she was three. Melía is mostly sweet, but at odd times over random issues, she draws her line in the sand and we all suffer needlessly.

The terribles are probably more about just being human. Pursuing the fantasy of independence. Trying to live out the myth that if we had it, we'd be happy. Sounding our angst over the torment of not being our own gods.

A couple of nights back Ashlyn was doing this expertly.

She talked a lot of trash, most of which transcended language (unless you can help me spell a prolonged shriek of rage). But the line that bounces around in my mind’s echo chamber was no more and no less than, “I don’t love you anymore.”

It was surreal hearing this from a four-year-old, let alone one throwing a two-year-old fit. Where does she get this stuff? How could such a little one take so skilled a stab at Achilles’ unsuspecting heart?

She missed, mind you. But not by much. If I had believed her, she would have had me.

“You don’t have to love me, Ashlyn. You just have to obey me,” I replied.

I believed my own words as little as I believed hers.

Indeed, she does not have to obey me. Endless options await her beyond the narrow path of Daddy’s will.

And don’t tell her this, but given the choice, I’d take love over obedience any day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i have a two year old boy too who said the same to me, "I don't love you anymore". It was painful.

It was over control. The baby wanted to take an umbrella and I said no because it wasn't raining and I wanted to get him used to accepting my authority.

I now know that I have no authority over the child. Only the responsibility to serve and protect.

I think the analogy in grown up world is if a police officer tells you arbitrarily to not carry an umbrella because he says so.