She appreciates his honesty. It isn't easy to give voice to such raw emotions, but what must be done? The mother was torn. Every day was a battle of homework, a battle of wills, a battle to encourage the best in her son and help heal the wounds deep within. She could not reach those wounds, though, and the battle was such that there was no winning side. Both mother and son were bleeding to death yet refusing to surrender. The mother felt like she did her best and only received anger and rebellion from her son. The son wanted desperately to know he was loved but rejected the love and healthy parameters that were offered.
The mother looked at her son and paused. In a moment of grace she was able to set aside her hurt and ask the following questions of herself: "How do I express sorrow about his choices while expressing love for him? Does he know that he is loved for who he is, regardless of his performance? And how do I love someone who professes their profound dislike for me every day?" She knew how often she failed at loving him unconditionally, knew how much her love was based on his performance that day, and knew the depths of her shortcomings. And it grieved her deeply.
She reached out for him, her little porcupine, and hugged him with what little strength she had left in her. She felt his quills pierce her heart but she held onto him tightly. "I love you, little tiger cub, and I won't stop loving you. It's my job to help you grow up into the best tiger that you can be, and I'll keep trying no matter what. I'm not giving up on you." Tears fell silently down his cheeks. The porcupine quills retracted and he returned her hug. "I love you, too, Mommy Tiger." The bleeding slowed, and scabs began to form over each of their wounds.
"Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.' " - Mary Anne Radmacher