I call my mom for a lot of things.
I call her when I can’t remember what temperature to cook a meatloaf, how to get stains out of silk and to see if she can babysit the kids. But every so often, it is absolutely necessary to call her to simply say, “I’m sorry.”
These apologies often arrive some 30 years after the original offense, but I am certain she is just as happy to receive them now, accepting them with great satisfaction. Here are a few examples:1. MEDICINE After tirelessly chasing my son around the house in an effort to catch him and force cough medicine down his throat, during which I actually break a sweat, bruise my shin running into the coffee table and step barefoot on a Lego, I eventually tackle the 55-pound 4-year old, wrap him in a blanket and get the medicine in him. Before even breathing a sigh of relief, he regurgitates the red syrup up and out, all over the front of my shirt. I know my mom had to wrap me in a blanket at least a dozen times and I’m sure I puked up St. Joseph’s chewable aspirins at least half of those occasions. For that, I am eternally sorry.
2. NAPS After having tried to get the kids to nap not only because they needed it, but more because I needed it, only to find them talking to themselves or their stuffed animals for a solid hour. Then, watching them fall asleep in their mashed potatoes at dinner, and subsequently wired until midnight because of their evening nap. I apologize for my own napping inconsistencies, which led to mashed potatoes up my nose later that day, and Johnny Carson with Mom that night.
3. TANTRUMS Following, more times than I can even count, a temper tantrum in any given store over a toy that one of my children wanted me to buy. (Heck, they can even find something in the Fedex/Kinkos store to instigate a temper tantrum. My own offense, I recall, was going ballistic over one of those baby doll bottles … the ones that you tip over and the “juice” or “milk” disappears. I may have cried so hard I threw up. Mea Culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima, mea culpa.
4. PRIVACY For all those times the kids have walked in on me while on the toilet, I recall the days I would follow my own mother to the bathroom the minute she got home from work, and sit outside the bathroom door asking when she’d be out. I guess at least I didn’t barge in on her as mine have done, so for that you are welcome, but I’m still sorry.
5. REPETITION I’m sure there are days when my mom wishes I would call her more, but for all those days when I said her name ad nauseam, double sorry. One for not calling her more often and one for all those, “Mom. Ma. Mommy. Mom. Ma. Mommy. Momma. Ma. Hey, Ma! Mom’s”
6. WHINING The whining. Oh, the whining!!! I know I was a champion at this skill and am getting my payback two-fold. I suppose it would be appropriate to tip my glass of wine that I have poured at the end of a long week of whining and say, “Cheers! And I’m sorry.”
7. ANXIETY My kids aren’t even teenagers yet and I have an anxiety attack dropping them off at birthday parties for kids in their class that I don’t know very well. So for all those nights as a teenager or in my early 20s while I was living under her roof and didn’t respect the fact that she worried about me 24/7, especially when I was out “gallivanting” with my friends and didn’t call to check in, I’m sorry.
8. HOMEWORK I sat down to do math homework with my daughter last night and 10 minutes in she was in tears over presenting three methods of writing 56 cents. Been there, done that. Sorry, Mom.
9. SOCKS For all the times we are racing to get out of the house and that fateful moment when “putting on socks” takes place. I have passed along my obsession with socks, how they feel, whether or not they match and whether the seam is lined up correctly across my toes. I know you thought dressing me in the morning would be a breeze if I went to private school and wore a uniform … but I proved you wrong, oh so wrong. What can I say? Again, I’m sorry, all the way down to the seam of my sock.
Not only am I remorseful, but I’ll even admit she was right. She told me some day I would understand, and now I do. More importantly, I also want to say, “Thank you.” Before I had children of my own, I had no idea how much she loved me.