"Hadley. THAT'S IT! Quit being an asshole."
Whoa. Shock. Silence.
Had I just said that? Did I really just call my 8-year-old an asshole? Sure, I've referred to her as an asshole behind her back, but had I really just said it out loud?
I must have. Everyone in the van was now quiet.
Uh-Oh. Mom cussed. She means business.
Shit. This was a new low. I felt terrible. Now I felt like the asshole. I couldn't believe I just called her that. What kind of a mother says that?
Was it justifiable? Probably not. Yet this is how it happened.
The hour was past lunch and though the children had been fed, I had not fed myself so I suppose low blood sugar could have been a contributing factor.
The weather was 100 degrees; however, with the humidity, we were near the throes of hell.
The location was the mini-van. Enough said.
Hadley had invented a game to play with her sister that went something like this: Hadley made up math problems that were beyond Cameron's comprehension and then awarded herself points when Cameron was unable to solve them.
The hunger, the heat and cruel game was a recipe that brought my blood to a boil.
Though she had been warned to stop, though she had been threatened, Hadley kept right on going with her game.
"Cameron, what's 20 plus 10?"
"No! It's 30, which means I have 30 points and you have zero."
Cameron wisely quit the game, and Hadley began to tease her.
I'd had it. That was enough. I let it fly.
"Hadley. THAT'S IT. Quit being an asshole."
Whoa. Shock. Silence.
Damn, now what? Now, I'd really done it. Now all of my kids were probably going to start calling each other assholes - or worse, other people's kids assholes. Perfect.
For a good few minutes, no one spoke. This is unheard of in my mini-van. It is quite possible I will now curse at them every 3 minutes in order to keep the peace.
Finally, I had to say something.
"Hadley, I'm sorry," I told her. "I got frustrated and I said something that wasn't very nice. What you were doing to your sister was wrong, but I was wrong too and I'm sorry."
"It's OK mom." Hadley said. "I'm sorry too. I was being mean."
Wow. What a mature response. I was proud of her apology and confession, though I was still ashamed of myself.
A few minutes passed and then there was this:
"Hey Cam! Let's play! What's 15 plus 12?"
I'm pretty sure that answer equals asshole.
There will come a time when you read this post and when you do, I hope you find this to be true...
You were, indeed, being an asshole - but more importantly, I loved you enough to call you out on it.
PPS. Be nice to your sister.