I don't exactly know what kind of tears they were. Maybe tears of frustration. Or tears of embarrassment. Tears of exhaustion, of disappointment, of annoyance, of loneliness.
All I know is that they were hot tears and they were dripping off my face as I drove in the snow down the road, not sure where we were heading next.
I had to carry her out of our exercise class, over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes, while she kicked and screamed and blubbered. She yelled at her friends. She sobbed like she was being beaten. She flailed on the floor. It took me over twenty minutes to wrestle her into the car seat.
She hit me.
She spit in my face.
She kicked and pounded.
She tried to bite me.
Everything I said was met with a NO and a glare and a look that communicated one emotion - hate. She was seething in her car seat, hating me. And in the moment, the feeling was mutual.
And then I cried.
And I couldn't stop.
After slightly composing myself I called my mom and cried some more, wishing she lived around the corner and could swoop into make everything better, easier, smoother. I sat surrounded by self-pity.
I am supposed to be better at this. I am supposed to be able calm her and soothe her and make her feel okay. I am supposed to have taught her by example - shown her how to problem solve, make good decision and negotiate her feelings.
We are supposed to be able to work through situations with out both of us yelling. Without me wanting to smack her back. Without her slamming her head on the floor or her door in my face.
Without a river of stupid tears.
By the time we pulled into the garage, my cheeks were still wet and she was singing gaily in the backseat, as if her meltdown, and my meltdown, had never occurred. As she always does after a blowup, she said "Are you happy Mommy?" and I could barely respond without the threat of new tears.
Because, no, I am not happy when I feel like I am failing her. I am not happy when I feel like I can't meet her needs. No, I am not happy when I am so angry that I understand why parents hit. I am not happy when my angel rips off her wings and sharpens her horns. I am not happy when I am completely unable to handle the situation. I am not happy when my tears give me away.
I tried to get our day back on track. And for a few moments, here and there, it was. But there were many more tears. Several minutes were spent on the thinking stool. She lost her privilege to use her stamps and a basket of stuffed animals is still sitting on top of my dresser.
But at the end of the day, when her Daddy brought her up to bed, I got an extra kiss and hug that was a bit longer than usual. Both of which, I appreciated and needed.
And then, shortly after her, I crawled into bed, hoping for a better today.