I happened upon a shorter version of this story in a comment this morning. I needed to read it today, and I also want to retell it.
Three years ago, Aaron and I were riding the elevator down from the beach condo at which we’d just had a vacation. It was the last elevator ride of the trip. It was time to drive home.
“Do you think I could have one more hug before you turn back into your cranky self?”
He wasn’t being cheeky with me. (Wow, I’d have certainly felt better if he was.) He was asking me a sincere question from his perspective.
Ask me how long I hugged him.
I don’t often outright lose my temper with the boys. I never say hateful things to them, or make unreasonable demands of them. But I once inadvertently trained my nine-year-old son to expect and accept my “cranky self” as part of the way life is. Oh, and guess what? He doesn’t like hugging my cranky self as much.
It’s hard to avoid being cranky once in a while. But I’m quite certain I don’t want a cranky self.