It was turning into a rather trying day. Ashley, my nine-year-old daughter, had come home from school in a sour mood. Nothing was to her liking. The lunch I had sent was to large, she didn’t want to do her homework, her teacher was mean, why did she have to pick up her coat she had thrown on the floor.
I tried to joke with her, hug her, cheer her up, but her bad mood moved in, like an unwanted flu virus.
“Ashley, you need to complete your homework before you read your new magazine,” I reminded her absorbed form hunched over the kitchen table.
“Mom,” she exploded, “why do you always have to tell me what to do? Nag, nag. You’re always telling me this and that. I hate it and I hate you.”
I stopped washing the lettuce, frozen. It was the first time she had said she hated me. The first time my usually cheerful and obedient daughter had talked to me in this manner.