We say, “I’m sorry,” a lot in this family.
This apologizing bit is relatively new to me. In fact, when Simon and I met, I truly sucked at apologies. An apology from me most often began with “I am sorry your feelings got hurt…” or “I am sorry you feel that way…” Yeah, personal responsibility wasn’t so much my gig. Even now, I have to watch myself, or there will be about six qualifiers to my apologies. Turns out, an apology with qualifiers isn’t really an apology at all. Huh.
In tandem with my unwillingness to apologize, I’ve got a nasty case of “I-am-always-right-itis.” I am a real charmer to live with. So it takes me until the 2nd of forever to admit that I am wrong in the first place. And then I have to figure out how to phrase my apology so it doesn’t cause even more havoc than my original egregious error. It’s fucking exhausting.
But (here’s my redemption), Jane brings out my willingness to be genuinely sorry for my actions and to earnestly seek forgiveness. This kid, she pushes me to be better in every way.
The truth: sometimes I lose my shit. The other morning, it was a dress (size 6x) that pushed me over the edge. The details don’t matter. It matters that I yelled. That she cried. That, in the moment when I was still seething, I refused her a hug and sent her to her room.
I went back, after a few deep, cleansing breaths, to check on her in her room. She still wanted that hug. This time I picked her up and carried her to the bed, where she laid on my chest just the way she used to when she was a baby. I held her while she cried out all of the yuckiness from the morning, and I apologized. For losing it over a dress. For yelling. For not being more patient. I murmured in her ear. I held that sweet girl until we both felt better.
Later, I noticed she was still hovering close as I made my way through my morning routine. I pulled her to me and put my hand on her heart. “I don’t want you to feel yucky in here because we had an argument over a dress,” I told her. “You having a good day at school is your most important job. You forget about that dress, okay? You and me, we are good.”
She smiled. “We are good, right Mommy?”
And we were. We were good. On the ride to school, she laughed about how silly it was that we fought over a dress. “It’s silly! Isn’t it so silly, Mommy?!”
And so, we learn. We learn not to get our panties in a bunch about insignificant minutia. We learn to ask for forgiveness. To do better next time. We learn to forgive each other and love each other through the messiness.
It is these moments that define me as a mom. Not the picture perfect parenting successes. The moments where I fuck up and own it. The moments where I show my daughter that she is worth humbling myself to ask for her forgiveness. These are the moments I show her the most love.