Wednesday, May 18, 2011
(Not so)Wordless Wednesday ~ Forgiveness
I waited. And knowing she couldn't let herself out of the carseat straps by herself, I went to the garage and opened the car door. My heart was sinking. If ever I felt like a total failure as a parent it was in that moment. Obviously I screwed up somewhere and did something to make her feel worse than when we started.
As I stood there in my garage with my half-naked daughter strapped in the carseat, I said to her "You are still angry." She said "Yes, I am still angry. No. I feel sadness, and I feel guilty."
"Guilty for saying the things you said to me?"
"Yes" and her tears began to flow again. I knew exactly how she was feeling--to have said and done things that I've regretted, to feel so bad about myself that I wished for a new me. I knew we both played a role in these awful feelings she was having. But in that moment, there was nothing else I could do but help her sift through them, identify and name them.
"You know, I have many things I feel guilty and have sadness for, and so does Daddy. We've done and said a lot of things we wished we never did."
A look of recognition came over her face. We have talked about these things before.
"Like when you use to yell?"
"Yes. And even though we can't take those things back, we do have one very special, very powerful thing we can do to help each other."
Her eyes lit up, as if a hint of magic suddenly appeared.
"Forgiveness. It's the one thing we can do to help each other start over and try again."
A deep breath and with a sigh,
"I'm sorry Mom."
"I'm sorry, too."
A hug, a big one, and then with a smile,
"You know you're going to have to help me put all my stuff back in my room."
And now a deep breath and a sigh of relief from me,
"I'd be happy to."
I know where I went wrong. That has become the easy part as it's always the same thing. When my own feelings of hurt or anger overpower my sense of rationale, when ego wants to speak louder than humility, that's when I screw up. Some days I am on it, and other days, I'm not. That variability I believe, is the human factor, and I can forgive myself for that. And my ability to forgive myself has been matched with an ability to forgive others. I don't believe this is a coincidence, at all.
The power of forgiveness, in many ways, is like magic. The only catch is that we have to allow ourselves to use it, and believe in it with all our hearts.
P.S. Joining Wordless Wednesday, Natural Parents Network, 5 minutes for Mom,