For all my bluster and bravado, at the end of the day, I am still Emily's Mom.
Part of the contract that I seem to have signed when she was born was that she would exist as my Achilles heel in the world at large. If you want to put an arrow directly into my soul, wound her.
While I have well established and heavily fortified defenses around my own persona, when it comes to Emily there is a decided wide open space with a large bulls eye painted directly in the middle.
Now, this isn't meant to paint Emily as an Innocent living in a world of wolves, in perpetual danger of being eaten alive. I think more highly of my daughter than that. She is a typical 11 year old girl. She knows how to work her father and I like the Parental Meat Puppets we can be. For her father, it is a specific tone of voice that she takes. She can get him to move through the house at light speed with a tone. For me, its tears. Not the normal "I don't want to do my homework/clean my room/eat my salad" tears...I am immune to those tears. No. It's the "My soul hurts" tears. The "I am bewildered as to why people are being unfair/unkind" tears.
THOSE tears get me. As in "I want to immediately and unthinkingly go out and hurt the person who has caused my daughter to have these feelings - even if it is another child, adult or inanimate object. It does not matter - they must be stopped."
That feeling arose in me last night.
Now, I can't speak for every parent, but I try to not get to that place terribly frequently. It does not show my best, most rational side to my child. It does not make me feel comfortable to be in that place. As such, I will weigh the other facts that I know :
Emily has been tired this week. It is the first week back to school after a 2 week vacation and her sleeping patterns are out of whack.
It has been very cold and snowing every day. That is enough to make anyone feel rotten.
While I have not discussed the specifics in front of her, Emily knows I don't love her teacher.
Again I say, My daughter is not stupid. She knows that the way to get her mother to become an unholy angel of revenge and fury is to plead injustice at my breast while crying, deep mournful sobs. I, in turn, will morph, black wings unfurling from my scapula, eyes beginning to glow with righteous fury. I will soothe her as I summon her father to the room, and when he arrives, I will have her lay out the case and stare at him, waiting for affirmation and permission to seek the vengeance which now rightfully belongs to me.
Last night, however, he stopped me.
"I'm going in to speak with the teacher in the morning", he says.