Exhausted. Bitter. Embarassed.
Why is it so hard to see the little girl everyone else sees. They look at me like I'm insane when I describe what she's really like at home. For those I dare indulge with the truth. No, at home she doesn't call the little ones "sweetheart", open doors for them, kneel down and help them figure out a toy. No, at home she doesn't sit back quietly, her hands folded in her lap with a sweet grin on her breathtakingly beautiful face. No, at home her brillant blue eyes do not sparkle when she laughs because she doesn't laugh at home. No, at home she doesn't ask others who look lonely or sad to join her in play leaving them smiling from ear to ear with silly games and play. No, at home she doesn't charm with "pleases" and "thank you's". No, at home she doesn't come to me for a quick embrace in between giggles with friends or as she flies happily by me between dance classes.
At home - there are no redeeming qualities. I find it hard to sit in the same room with her. Because at home she screams and kicks and lashes and slaps and grins an evil grin. She heckles me and her dad and her 3 yo sister. She screams she hates me. She screams I'm the meanest mom ever. She runs away and the next second she stalks. She envokes tears of hot rage and anger and saddness from me. She embarasses me beyond belief. I don't raise children like this. I'm a strong woman. A strong mother. A mother whose 2 other children behave well. Who after an outburst of average length settle down and return to themselves. I'm a mother who was raised by parents that stressed respect and honor and self control. To treat others as you'd like to be treated. My children know these same rules. But Ava does not follow them.
I'm typing between hiccuping tears. Hot tears of embarassment. My amazing brother in law is here for a week. He has brought the new love in his life. A woman he met in China while on business. She's a phenominal woman. And she's now witnessed the monster of a child I have. Do you know this child? Do you know the child you await to appear but hope with all you have in you that she won't? Do you know the pain of parenting a mood disordered monster? One that rages in front of people you hardly know. And how do I explain? And how do I not look like the one who is the monster? I asked Ava to clean her room and hours. Yes, literally HOURS later she is still raging in her room. So, do I just let the room go? NO! I cannot, it's actually to the point of dangerous it is so messy. So hours go by and her rage builds until it's time for a "garage time out". The only place we can put her where she cannot break a door from beating on it. A place where we can escape her physical and verbal abuse. All the while here my brother in law and his lovely girlfriend sit, confused and uncomfortable. She ruins everything. Everything. And this is just another example of that.
But this is not the girl you see. No, you're not one of the lucky few that get to see my real child. Or is it rather my real child that you DO see? Perhaps the animal I see is not really my Ava. And if that's the case then what logic can explain to my heart the reason as to why I get the raging animal? I understand what is said - that mood disordered children treat those they love and trust the most, the worst. And while my mind my fully understand that - my heart and my soul never will.
A mood disorder is not an excuse. It's a suitcase full of shit that some lucky folks carry around their entire lives. You lug it and you learn to accomadate for the space it requires and stink it expells. We all have our own suitcases. None of us are free of baggage. And now I carry not only my own suitcase, but Ava's as well. My heart hurts. My heart aches for peace.
I love my daughter far, far beyond words could ever express. I would give my life for her in seconds. I would take away all of her pain and confusion for years, decades of my own torture. But my daughter, I do not like. I dig deep. So deep - every morning when I wake, I dig to remember the little chubby toddler that loved me. Who reached for me and melted into my hugs. Who bloomed with love when she heard my voice. Who smiled from ear to ear and threw back her sweet blonde head laughing to run to me. I remember her because right now - anymore - my reality - these days - my 7 yo old is so far from the girl I thought she'd be. So far from what I hope she will be.