There are these moments when I look at my child, as she's screaming at the top of her lungs, and I want to burst into tears. It's not because I don't love her or I'm angry with her. It's simply because I feel like, in those particular moments, I'm failing as a mom. She's screaming, and I can't make her stop. I don't know what's wrong, and nothing I do to try and calm her down works. It's sort of like beating your head against a brick wall – nothing will get through to her. Nothing will make her feel better.
That same feeling creeps back when she refuses to eat – when not even a fresh grilled cheese quesadilla will convince her that placing food in her mouth is better for her than throwing it on the floor or squishing it onto her high-chair tray or quietly sneaking it to the dog. "She'll eat when she's hungry." Except that she never seems hungry. How can I make her understand that it's important for her to eat? That she's already small? That she needs this food to grow and become strong? I can't.
She throws things at the dog. At me. She hits and (sometimes) bites. She rages and rampages until she's done . . . or maybe not. Maybe she picks back up again in 10 minutes. It's different every day.
Yet, the ending is always the same. At the point when I feel like I might break – when I feel like I am completely helpless – she becomes her old self again. She curls up on my chest and strokes my face with her hand. She looks up at me with her big, beautiful eyes and gives me a kiss. She lets me hold her and rock her and sing to her. It's as if she's telling me that she's sorry. It's like she's comforting me.
It's as if she's reminding me that I'm doing the best that I can. And so is she.