One upon a time, when I was a little girl - probably around Aria's age if I had to guess - I got angry with my mom.
I can't remember why. Maybe I was forced to finish my corn pudding (Ya'll, please. I don't care how southern you are, corn pudding is just not right). Or maybe I peeled the gold flocked wallpaper off the walls and got sent to my room during the once-a-year broadcast of "The Wizard of Oz" (Yes, yes. I am that old. Old enough to remember gold flocked wallpaper. And when you only had ONE television, and it weighed 200 pounds, and had only three channels, and no remote control or MTV and movies that you didn't demand, but actually had to wait for, to watch).
But come on, Mom, gold flocked wallpaper? I was totally doing you a favor.
Or I could have been upset about* a minor physical assault of my brother resulting in exaggerated melodrama which led to the most horrible of horrible punishments for me -- no dessert.
(*most likely scenario)
Whatever. Point is, I was mad.
And I wanted to mouth off to her. Not a big surprise to those of you who know me; I've been known to mouth off before (side eye, Chris).
The other day, Aria and I were watching the movie "Ramona and Beezus" - you know, since it's ten million degress outside and we're spending so much time in Pool that my hair is turning green. There's a scene in the movie where Ramona gets so overcome with anger and emotion that she wants to yell out a bad word. She notifies her family that a profanity is on its way, and then she squeezes her eyes shut, balls up her fists, and hollers out... "GUTS!". Guts. Her bad word was guts.
Can I just say? We should be so lucky that a kid today would consider "guts" a bad word. Amen? This of course, coming from the mother whose daughter informed me the other day she had named her stuffed rabbit Crappy, but that, my friends, is a blog post for another day. Or never.
Anyway, guts. So Ramona's family acts all shocked and such, but exchange secret smiles above her head at how cute little Ramona is with her bad word, guts. Then mixed messages are sent, calamity ensues, blah-blah-blah, Ramona saves the day, and everybody hugs it out in the end.
Okay, can I be honest? I'm projecting. I didn't actually watch the whole movie. I usually try to preview what the kids watch, but when I realized the most profane word in it was guts, I kind of tuned out...
But this feeling that Ramona had, where you want to ball up your fists and shout out something bad, this was how I was feeling when I was little and I was mad at my mom (dessert). Except this was back in the day of flocked wallpaper and big TVs and three channels and no MTV. So four-year-old-me didn't know swear words - I don't even think I knew the word guts - so I said the most terrible thing I could think of:
I... WISH DADDY HAD MARRIED A NICE LADY!!!!"
Now those words coming from a four-year-old mouth wouldn't be very funny were it not for the fact that my mother - the very woman to whom these words were directed - is in fact a very nice lady. That's the irony. She's the nicest of nice. You couldn't ask for anyone nicer. I consider her to be the very best and very nicest mother in the world.
But four-year-old-me? She was ticked. And ready to strike back.
My mom? Not unlike Ramona's family in the movie, she took my tirade in stride, nodding and smiling at my dad over my head at how cute little four-year-old-me was. And thus, we Woods have had many a good chuckle about this over the years. And my mom's received more than a few Mother's Day cards suggesting she try and be more "nice".
Well, here it is, thirty-sumfin' years later and my four-year-old is wanting to mouth off to me at times. Not unlike my own childhood, her fits are usually preceded by a mild assault of her sister, theatrical histrionics, and the subsequent denial of something precious (dessert). As of this post, she hasn't quite articulated her dissatisfaction yet, but I can tell it won't be long. She balls up her fists, squeezes her eyes closed, and makes a frustrated groan/yelp/screech gesticulation, which I know soon enough will evolve into words. Probably words I won't want to hear.
And this is when I just want to take four-year-old-me by the shoulders and say, "Now looky here. You be nice to your mother. She's doing the best she can for you. Because she loves you". And then I want to take thirty-sumfin'-year-old-me by the shoulders and say, "Now looky here. You be patient with your daughter if she says something she doesn't really mean because she's angry and frustrated. Because she's four. And she doesn't know how to express herself yet. And maybe this is just the best way she knows how right now."
Here's hoping the worst things she learns to say is guts. And that she won't remember what made her mad (dessert), she will just remember that thirty-sumfin'-me was patient with her. And loving.
Isaiah 30:21 "When you go to the left or the right, your ears will hear a voice saying, 'This is the way', walk in it".