This past weekend I was the matron of honor at my cousin’s wedding. In addition to my other duties, I was asked to give a speech. For months, I drafted and rewrote and aside from all the sweet memories, I wound up writing an apology letter for all the funny and not so funny situations we had gotten into together over the years. That was all in jest, but it got me thinking about apologies and I realized I’ve got myself a serious case of the “I’m Sorries.”
What are the “I’m Sorries,” you ask? It’s a disease caused by the constant need to apologize for everything. And I mean everything. Forgot to pick up the dry cleaning? I’m sorry. Didn’t feed the dog dinner yet? I’m sorry. Spilled the OJ. I’M SORRY!!!
I realized I spend more of my day feeling guilty and apologizing for things, some out of my control and just plain ridiculous, that I am actually missing out on the fun of it all. So in an effort to re-center and redirect my energy towards the positive, I’m issuing this one time apology letter for all the things big and small that I feel guilty about and compelled to apologize for on a daily basis.
We’ll start small and build on that!
To my friends without kids –
I’m so sorry that I have literally no time to call or write or meet up for drinks in the city like we used to when I was just a married lady or even the mom of one. I’m doing my best to stay in touch, so know that I am thinking of you often and accept my infrequent texts with love. Trust me, I miss you and wish I could speak to you every day!
minus the awesome – haha!
To my new mom friends –
I’m sorry if I ever sound like “that mom.” You know, the one who thinks she knows everything because she has multiple children. I am definitely not that mom and on most days I feel like I know nothing. When you ask for help and I can offer solid wisdom by experience, I will most definitely try to help. I’m also so sorry and torn-up that I can’t freely participate in lunches and afternoon play dates because I have two older kids to care for. I’m often running quickly out of class or throwing money on the table after lunch and dashing out to pick-up a kid or catch the bus. I’m not usually like this and I want nothing more than to linger and chat for hours. And to my dearest friend, if you are reading this, I’m sorry I haven’t made it out to Brooklyn to smush with your little one. I couldn’t be happier for you that you are a mama and I love your baby to pieces through pictures if not in person!
To my friends with multiple children:
I know you get it – we’re in the same boat. Little time for ourselves, let alone for others, but I do want to apologize for missed play dates and cancelled dinner dates because of scheduling conflicts or sick kids. I cherish our friendships and I love when we all get together when we can. To my best friend, I am sorry I don’t have all the answers to cure fevers and heartaches and that we don’t see each other as often as we’d like because our kids rule our schedules!!!
To the collective group of family and friends –
I know I am well-known for my hand-written letters and cards, so I truly apologize for late birthday cards or missed anniversaries. I buy the cards and I even address them, but somehow, one way or another, they get mixed up in a pile of magazines or toys and I find them weeks after the fact.
I am sorry I am no longer punctual and I always running late. Inevitably someone loses a shoe or poops or needs to eat and the minutes pass and I realize I forgot to put pants on as I am getting into the car and then we’re twenty minutes behind.
To my brother and sister-in-law :
I’m sorry for selfishly wanting you to have a baby ASAP so I can have a niece or nephew to play with and dote on. I say I’m sorry, only because I actually sometimes envy your carefree city living lifestyle and your ability to come and go as you please. Take your time and have a baby when you’re good and ready!
To my mom:
I’m sorry our conversations often end in me screaming, “I have to go, my kids are killing each other,” or “oh god (gasp)” and then a click and hang-up with no explanation. I’m sure that’s no fun for you on the other end wondering what happened. I’m sorry I have no time to listen to your stories and trust me that frustrates me. I miss our leisurely conversations and our easy trips to the mall without someone crying and one of us bashing the double stroller into a wall.
To my dad:
I’m sorry most of our conversations now are me complaining. I know I can talk to you and bounce things off of you, but I also know it would be nice for you to hear me sounding cheery once in a while. Because trust me, I am.
To my grandma and grandpa:
I’m sorry I no longer have the freedom to sit at your kitchen table to chat for hours about everything and anything without a kid inevitably breaking one of your chachkies or demanding a snack. I miss those moments more than words can describe.
To my dog,
I’m sorry you used to be my number one gal pal, traveling in my pocketbook with me all over town, perfectly groomed and dressed in a fancy coat. I’m sorry when it rains, I no longer put you in your raincoat. I’m sorry that I don’t take you on long walks anymore. It’s tiresome pushing a stroller and stopping every second for you to sniff grass. I still love you even if you’re sometimes fourth in line. You still mean the world to me.
To my husband-
Well honestly, this could take all night, but I’ll just apologize for something important. I’m sorry that at the end of the day, sometimes I just don’t want to be touched by another human being, even to just hold hands. After a day of little hands clinging to me, boys climbing on me, and breastfeeding, sometimes I just need a little personal space. Doesn’t mean I love you any less, it just means my senses are on overload and I just need some peace and quiet and distance. (Not all the time, but sometimes!). I excitedly wait all day for our time together at night, and by the time you get home, I am so exhausted, I just need a break!
And to my sweet boys who get so much love, but also get a tired, frazzled mommy.
To my oldest – I am sorry I used to be a very patient mommy and I never yelled. I’m sorry my attention isn’t on you as often as it used to be and as often as you need it. I’m sorry I’ve spanked you even though I vowed not to be that type of parent (cue a “you’ll see when you’re a parent” and an “I told you so” from my mom and dad). I’m sorry I held you a little too tight and I was more anxious with you than I am with your brothers. I never meant to make you so pensive and worried, but it comes with the territory of being first born – I should know. You are a great little man and I love you very very much. You’ll always be my first love.
To my middle – my free spirited, zest for life boy. I am sorry your babyhood was cut short by the pregnancy and birth of your little brother. I am sorry you don’t have a strong group of friends at two like your brother did because I had less time to form solid relationships with people with kids your age when you were an infant. I am sorry you get a lot of hand me downs and you moved to a big boy bed at 16 months and we slightly disrupted your perfect sleep pattern. I’m sorry you didn’t have a big baby naming or first birthday party like your older brother, but I learned the importance of celebrating you more intimately. And I am sorry you’ve never been on an airplane. I love you and your innate ability to laugh and smile and I have such fun with you.
To my baby – I am sorry you have to cry it out sometimes and that I can’t sit and hold you for hours on end because I am always rushing. I am sorry you have allergies. I am sorry you have to be more independent at an early age. I am sorry lots of the toys you play with have missing pieces your older brothers lost or broke. I am sorry you have to hear me yelling at your older brothers. I am more relaxed with you about many things, which almost makes me love you more tightly because I know how quickly your infancy will pass by. Hugs from mama!
And for my last apology, I am sorry to me for being so damn judgmental and hard on myself about everything!
So in hopes that my future apologies will be less about guilt and more about incidents or accidents or misfortune (all fun stuff, huh?), I am letting go of the guilt and focusing on what’s most important – my kids, my family, my personal relationships – and enjoying the moments we share, judgment and guilt free. Want to join me?