Tonawanda News — “Hey buddy?”
“WHAT?” he replied in the sort of upset tone that makes a parent want to cuddle their baby right beside their chest for the next year or so.
“I love you no matter what. But you can’t act this way and expect to do things. When you misbehave and don’t listen, we have to punish you. So you have to stay here. But I always love you.”
“I WANT TO GO!”
Tears were flying furiously, and his face was crinkly and red. He didn’t appear at the point in life yet where the child recognizes it really is worse for the parent than it is for him.
“Sorry, buddy. Can’t do it this time. I love you.”
I kissed him on the forehead. He dove off the chair and clung to my leg. And, mind you, he’s quite large for his age, so it’s pretty much like having an anchor tied to your thigh when he does that. After four or so labored steps, I realized he wasn’t going to loosen his grip. So I had to loosen it for him.
As I felt his grip give way around my leg, I wanted desperately to keep hold of his hand, pick him up, dust him off and bring him along. I’m not much of a punisher. I don’t like doing things that hurt others. Just not in my nature.
But, when I made the decision all those years ago to have children, I knew that was part of the package. And I know there will be way more blowouts in the years to come. So, regardless of whether I have the heart to do it, I have to be the bad guy sometimes.
I had to walk out the door, defying my instincts to run back to my screaming baby boy and give him a piggyback ride to the car.