I found out tonight. I actually have never even pondered this. But when I heard it from my 6-year-old today, I knew, in my heart, this has got to be the worst question a child could ever ever ask of you, the parent.
Not “Am I going to die?”
Not “What happened to (insert: any family member that just passed away)?”
Not “Where do babies come from?”
Not “What is SEX?”
Not “Are you and daddy having a divorce?”
Not even “Did you and daddy plan to have me?”
Or “How do you use a condom?”
The worst question, if your child asked you the same, your heart would drop like an anvil all the way to your stomach (pardon me for the cliche but I never say I am a writer), and you would have the sick feeling in your stomach, and you would know, with no uncertainty, that somewhere, somehow, you must have screwed up big time. You would wish that you had not yelled at him, had not snapped at him, had not taken your frustration at your own situation (oh, foolish foolish immature girl’s dream that you would grow up to be somebody and not “just a mom”) out at him. You would wish that you were more patient, had more time to spare, were more like “other kids’ moms”, were more content. You would wish that you were happy enough just being, well, you.
My child asked me, quietly, tonight,
Mom, do you hate me?