There is a semi-ridiculous story circulating on Facebook.
One version goes like this:
A child says to his mom "mommy, I colored your sheets with lipstick", with anger she starts to hit her child until he was unconcious. Then she regrets what she has done, and crying says to her child, "please open your eyes", but it was too late, his tiny heart has stopped beating. When she walked into her bedroom, the ...sheet said "I LOVE YOU MOMMY."
It's designed to tug on the heartstrings and raise awareness about child abuse. And silly though it was, it made me cry. Not because I've ever beaten a kid unconscious, but because it brought to mind vividly of one of my "bad mom" moments.
About 10 years ago, I purchased our first set of "fine" linens for our king-sized bed. Until then all we'd ever had to sleep on were relatives' hand-me-downs or bargain bin sheets. But all the little midnight visitors kept crowding us out, so we finally upgraded to a king bed. None of our relatives had a king, so there were no second-hand sheets to be had.
I found a set of 450 thread count sheets at a pretty good sale price. They were heavenly. Silky-smooth and cool, with rows of satiny embroidered edging. We were immediately ruined for life - from that moment on, my motto became, "Life is too short to sleep on cheap sheets."
Isn't it beautiful?
That year Brian decided he wanted to be a thief for Halloween. We already had a black-and-white-striped outfit, so all he needed was a mask and a loot bag. I told him to take an old pillowcase - we had several - and draw a big dollar sign on it. It could be a money bag that doubled as a candy bag! Brilliant, right?
Not. He came back shortly thereafter with this. In case it isn't obvious enough, it's one of my pair of good pillowcases. And that dollar sign was done in black Sharpie.
You saw that one coming, didn't you?
Boy oh boy oh boy did I flip. I didn't hit him - I'm not the whupping kind - but he took a verbal beating that day. He was always the type - still is - that just stood and took whatever verbal acid rain I poured out on him. He wouldn't cry - still doesn't - but I could see my words pummeling him, and I couldn't stop myself. Inside, he was beating up on himself just as hard - still does - and I could see his wincing eyes, but sometimes when I get on a roll, I don't know when to say when.
When I was finished thrashing him, he went away, probably to go feel worthless somewhere, and I still fumed. Over a pillowcase.
I know I apologized later, and tried to explain why his choice had made me so upset. But it's too late then. Those words can't be taken back. I don't remember if he used the offending pillowcase that year for trick-or-treat, or not.
Over the years I have tried to remember to take his stoic, sensitive nature into consideration when I am upset with him. I don't always succeed, but I hope someday when he looks back at his childhood that there won't be TOO much to forgive me for.
In the meantime, I still like to sleep on finer sheets. And I like to include a special pillowcase when making my bed.
Brian, I'm still sorry. I love you.