My younger son Rowan once asked me if he could ever do anything that would make me stop loving him.
“No, absolutely nothing,” I assured him. “Even if you did the worst thing you could think of, even if you were in jail for your whole life, I would still love you. I will love you and your brother every minute of my life, no matter what.”
Rowan paused, considering my answer.
“Even on the lamp day, when you got super mad…did you love me the same amount that day, too?” Rowan pressed. “Or did you maybe love me a little bit less?”
Ah yes, the infamous Lamp Day — the day Rowan hurled a pillow across the living room (in spite of the no-throwing-pillows rule) and broke a lamp, mere hours after my mom had bought me a new lamp to replace the other lamp Rowan had broken eight months before, also by hurling a pillow across the room.
I cringe even now as I recall the scene, me gripping the lamp base white-knuckled, shaking it over my head and raving incoherently. My mother, who was visiting for the week, stood speechless next to me, paralyzed by my bellowing outburst. I ordered the boys to their rooms while I swept up the fragments, ranting about how they’d spend the entire day behind closed doors. My mother retreated to the basement guest room as I crashed around the kitchen, slamming the box of fresh donuts into the trashcan and fuming aloud to myself while the boys howled in their bedrooms.
All in all, the Lamp Day was not my most stellar moment in parenting.