Wild Kratts ends and we turn off the TV. I make the slightest move to grab onto the remote to pass it to the kiddo to press the power button and before I can even make a move in his direction, he's whining and crying "No! No! I want to do it! Not Yoooooouuuu!!!"
"Buddy, I was going to let you turn it off. That's why I am passing the remote to you."
"No! Not Yoooooouuuuu! Daddy do it!"
"Let's get ready for our walk. You can bring a snack and put on your super fast running shoes," his daddy suggests.
"Yes," I reiterate, "Let's go for a long walk in the fresh air."
Whine, whine, whine and more whining. I would quote directly, but I can't because my brain won't accept it. What my brain does register is the following:
"No! I don't want Mommy to come. Not you! No!" as he physically pushes me away.
Of course those words don't come out as quiet, incoherent whining and mumbling. No, those words always come out loud and perfectly pronounced.
"Not yooooouuuu! Not Mommy! I only want me and Daddy and Charlie."
I can't help but feel hurt. I know he doesn't mean to be mean. I know he is not trying to hurt me. I know I still matter in his life, but minutes, days, weeks like these, I wonder how. I steal every sweet moment we get, lock it up tight in my heart's cloud storage to preserve for these exact moments.
Is this the kiddo's subconscious getting back at me for taking him away from his daddy to go visit Nana and Papa for the weekend? Is it because I work too much? Is it because I'm more of a disciplinarian? Even worse, is it because I lack the depth of empathy that his father shows?
These are all thoughts that enter my brain, tug at my vocal chords, and often bring little drops of moisture to the corners of my eyes. For all the confidence I have built up as a person and a parent, those two little words "Not Yoooouuuu!" destroy it like a real wrecking ball to a Lego tower. I sometimes ugly cry about it. I sometimes ignore it and take advantage of the extra time to just be me and get things done. But mostly, I work hard to find new ways to re-connect. Like dance parties and Disney countdowns. I will be ready for that day when he may want me instead. I will always be there.