Princess: Mom I really hate to say this, but I think I love you more than dad.
Me: What make you think that?
Princess: Well I've been thinking. You know how I was always a Daddy's Girl? I think I am now a Mommy's Girl.
And then my heart melted. I assured her that she could love both her father and me equally, but she insisted that she loved me more. On that day, I did not argue with her. I just basked in the sun of this new found revelation of my daughter's.
For many moms hearing their child say those three little words, "I love you", eventually will still melt their hearts, but they do lose some of their novelty, specialness if you will. I think I will cherish them a bit longer than most. It's not because my daughter is nonverbal. It's because she was so unstable for many years. There were many times that this precious child screamed, "I HATE YOU." At the time, it hurt to hear that phrase even though I knew it wasn't how she really felt. She was angry and confused at the time. One day when she was upset with me over a homework battle, she etched the words, "I HATE MOM." onto our kitchen table. I shed a few tears over that one. We still have the table with those spiteful words embedded in it. My husband has not sanded them out yet. I'm not sure I ever want him to. They serve as a memorial of sorts. They remind me of how far my daughter has come.
With the right medication and therapy, my child is happy and thriving. Our home is a peaceful one now.
Gone are the days of aggression. Gone are the days when I had to lock myself in my bedroom in order to be safe from my own child. Gone are the days when my child was someone I did not enjoy being around. Gone are the words "I hate you mom!".
Those ugly, dark days have been replaced with cuddles. With random shouts of "I love you!" With my precious girl telling me that she loves me more than her dad.
Recently in the midst of so much joy and peace, I asked this reborn child of mine why she used to say that she hated me. She explained that she never really hated me, she hated the way she was feeling. She was confused and had to take it out on someone. Since her life was in such a turmoil and she did not have the words for what she was feeling, it was easier to lash out at me.
I'm thrilled that my daughter has learned how to express herself in a more positive manner. It warms the cockles of my heart to hear her say that one sentence I never thought I'd hear: I love you mom.
This was at a birthday celebration for me. The restaurant was too loud for Princess so she wore her noise canceling headphones. Obviously she still enjoyed being with her mommy.
*Please note: A different version of this appeared on The Mighty as well.