I really hate to say this. I do. But I think that in the end The Great Loveseat Coloring Incident actually ended up being a good thing. In a way, I think it is something that Matthew has been waiting to do since he met me.
(I’m about to get all psychological here. Y’all bear with me.)
I truly believe that Matthew has been testing us (and me, in particular) since he joined our family. And who could blame him? At 2.5 he had dealt with a lot of broken attachments (many of which he can’t physically remember, but I know they are there, tattooed on his soul somehow) and then, for reasons he still doesn’t completely understand, he was removed from his foster family to join us. There is still a part of him that believes that he did something wrong to cause this. And from day one, I think, a part of him has been wondering what it is going to take for me to leave. Or for me to say, you know this kid is just too much. I’m done.
We tell him “forever” all the time, but I don’t know that he really, really believes it.
So when he colored the loveseat, I think this was it. He had finally worked up the nerve to do the absolute worst thing he could think of. And I have to give him mad props here–it was very personal and hurtful.
He must have been terrified, waiting to see what I would do. And then…..we all ate dinner together. And he still got a kiss goodnight. The next day, our family took a walk in a park and went on a picnic. The world did not end. His punishments were doled out and the incident was forgotten. How anti-climactic.
Shortly after the incident, he and I were playing Wii bowling together. He is really good at it (he’s even bowled a perfect game before), so I definitely try my hardest. This particular time, I beat him by one point. Matthew is traditionally not a very good loser. He usually cries.
But this time, when the game was over I gave him a high five and told him what a great game he played. He was on the verge of tears, but he stopped and said, “You love me? Even when I lose?”.
Even when you lose.
Even when you claim not to love me.
Even when you color on a brand new piece of furniture. Out of spite.
Even when anything.
No matter what and forever.
I vow to show you this everyday, not just with my words, but with my actions.
Until the only thing etched on your soul is “forever”.