“I’m not going in.” Kaylee screamed as I opened the door to our apartment building. It had been months since I left and the transition coming back from her dad’s was still difficult.
She was tugging on my shirt with alligator tears clung to her cheeks and snot running down her face.
“I wish you and daddy lived together… I want to live with both of you… I want to live in our old house…” The sentences were separated by heaving breaths and my heart dropped every time I heard her gasp for air.
“I know its hard. You want us to be together.”
I gave her space and let her know I was available for a hug. I smiled at anyone who passed and stayed with her, allowing her to release the strong emotions.
After what seemed an eternity, she calmed enough to come into the building and we walked to the elevator.
The moment we got into the apartment, she ran to the couch and returned to crying.
“I hate it here and I hate you!” She screamed.
It wasn’t upsetting to hear the words, but to have known she meant it. At least for a moment.
At that moment, she was feeling enough pain to hate the person she loved most.
A pain I had the key to solving and would not.
I stood there, alone, looking around the room and into her eyes as if this pain would just disappear.
I breathed. I did everything I could to stay connected to my heart so I could hold the space for her response and then let it go.
I wondered when this would end. When she would accept having two homes and separate parents. And then I realized that it may never. That the desire to have her parents together may always be there.
Just like I wish my father was still alive, she wants nothing more than to go back to being a family.
But that is life. Filled with so many opportunities to learn the most difficult lessons.
Lessons only love can heal.
And part of parenting is learning how to be the neutral, loving support your child needs when life brings them a trial. When all you want to do is solve their problem and wipe their tears away.
After a few minutes, she calmed down and ran over to me.
“I love you mommy.” Relief came over me as I felt her arms wrap around my neck.
“I love you too.” I closed my eyes and held her tight.
And in my head I told myself, “Its going to be okay.”