I don't really know where or when I heard that quote... "I know I'll do something that will have my child in therapy for years", but it left an impression on me. Being an over achiever and over thinker from way back as a new Mom I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to do it perfectly- because I didn't want to say "that thing".
I realized somewhere that that's an insane amount of pressure to put on myself. Regardless, its real, at least for me.
I have a friend who has a vivid (to the point that he remembers what he was wearing) memory of being 3 and his father telling him to wait a minute and from that moment on he never interrupted his father. He was three, what a monumental moment in his life. When he told me that, it did nothing more than solidify for me that, "that thing" could be said.
I started reading Ultra Marathon Man (stay with me, I swear there is a link) at the recommendation of a friend. I'm really enjoying it. He talks about finding joy and passion in running cross country and then he joins the track team and when he tells the track coach he runs from his heart, he doesn't need splits, the coach laughs at him and he puts away his running shoes for 15 years. Maybe the coach didn't put him in therapy.. but he said "that thing" that altered the runner's life.
I'm a single parent, I work a full time job, and often have to work more than a typical 8 hour day. And I like I think the rest of the world have good days and bad days, and I have fantastic parenting moments and I have some not so fantastic parenting moments, even bad parenting moments. And when I think about those bad moments I often wonder did I say "that thing", that will forever alter Sunshine's life?
I guess there is also a fantastic version of "that thing", something that builds self esteem and sends generally warm fuzzies. And I will share one, Sunshine is petite, always has been, and she was struggling with that, the kids always made her be the baby when they played house, but she wanted to be the Mommy sometimes, but they said she wasn't big enough, and in one of my best parenting moments I said... "You're a big girl in a small package and wonderful things come in small packages".
What am I driving at? I guess that words and actions are powerful, and I need to remember that. Both have great powers to uplift and encourage, yet can also destroy and break down someone.