Wednesday, January 16, 2013

an apology letter to the universe

Charlie is out of town on a business trip. It happens once a quarter that he is gone for one week and this is the week. He'll be home soon, but until then - I'm holding down the fort on my own. At the risk of sounding like an overwhelmed working mother of four, I'll just admit that it can be a bit frazzling to be solely responsible for several small children, three of whom are in after school activities nearly every day and have an abundance of homework at night. While also being responsible for a full-time job that is located in the Corporate headquarters of a major oil company (aka: you can't just stroll in with your unwashed hair in a bun wearing baggy sweatpants and a pair of UGGs).


The other night, in an effort to combat the anxiety that I could feel building up in my heart and shoulders, I pulled out my old dusty yoga DVD and popped it in. For the first 15 minutes, the children were engaged and we all did yoga together. AS A FAMILY.  It was unbelievably zen.

But then ... suddenly the children were bored, which I fully expected would eventually happen. What I didn't expect was that as I was in the triangle pose visualizing energy channeling through my fingertips, that I'd say in a not so very calm voice to my precious children pushing each other off the couch behind me, "Dear Ones. If you keep that up, I'm going to take you straight to the orphanage." 

Did I mean it?  No, of course not!

Why do I even say things like that?  Where in the world do those horrible thoughts come from because they're most definitely not in my heart.  Good Lord these children know how to push buttons that I didn't even know existed.  As do people in traffic that honk their horns for no good reason. Why is it that I feel compelled to throw my car in to reverse and just back in to them?  SMASH!

Today, William received a "Think Sheet." This is the first time that he's ever received disciplinary action at school to the point that the school has notified us about it. Apparently, he was the recipient of two Think Sheets, but the first one accidentally ended crumpled up in the trash, something or other.


My sweet son, my once three pound preemie baby, who is sharp as a tack and has the propensity to be a very polite little gentleman, also has the propensity to be an over-the-top absolute clown that jumps around like a fool.  The things that this child will do for a laugh. We've definitely reached the "goofy" age and I just keep hoping that eventually, he'll realize on his own that the laughs aren't worth the sacrifices to his dignity.

But then I'm reminded of Jackass movies, and understand some boys never grow out of it. 

As we were driving home today, I asked what had happened.  For the next seven minutes, as William would try to talk, his sisters were interrupting him.  "Eli punched him in the head, first."  "William was banging on a drum to make everyone laugh!" I was trying to shush the girls so that William could tell me what had happened, from his perspective. Around and around and around the story went because there is no such thing as a factual summary from an eight-year-old, especially when his eight-year-old sisters have their opinion.  I probably shouldn't have been annoyed, but my patience meter was tapping out - so as we were driving down the street to our house, I suddenly pulled over to the side of the road and climbed out.  Opening the back door to the van, I asked a terrified William (Oh My Dear God, what is she going to do to me?!) WHAT HAPPENED? 

A crystal clear story suddenly emerged. He and his friend, Eli, were playing in the cafeteria.  They were joking around and started to punch one another because isn't that precisely what second grade boys do? The cafeteria mom witnessed the tomfoolery and told the teacher that they were punching each other and voila. Think Sheet One.


In music class, the teacher asked them to line up against the wall at the end of their session, but William thought it would be more fun to go play instruments than listen and voila. Think Sheet Two.


Once I had the details, I tried to determine what would be the most appropriate response.  Elizabeth was whispering, "You're busted! You're busted!" but when I asked her to explain what "busted" means, she was under the impression that it meant something altogether different.  In the end, I decided that I'd have him sit down and write apology letters for both events.  William told me that he was so sorry and that he promised he'd never make a mistake again.  I told him that while it's always good to try our best - we're human and we ALWAYS make mistakes. The important thing is to recognize your mistakes, apologize for them - and if you happen to be on the opposite side, extend forgiveness.


A mere 10 minutes later, just to prove my point, the kids did something - created a mess, left a mess, teased each other, who the heck even knows what - and my head fell clean off my shoulders as is prone to happen. While my head doesn't actually detach from my body physically, it does so mentally because I do and say things that I'd never do or say in a sound state of mind.

I'm slowly going insane.  I just know it.

Tonight as I was tucking the children in to bed and saying our evening prayers, I apologized. "See," I told William. "You're not the only one that has bad behavior and makes mistakes. Every day, we just have to keep trying to do better. Unfortunately," I added, "Sometimes the bigger you are, the bigger the mistakes." He smiled and said, "Yeah, but that just means you need bigger forgiveness."

Perhaps that's why I blog. Writing here helps keep me honest.

And my apology letters would never fit on a single sheet of paper.


  1. Those notes are awesome!

  2. You know what, I just love your honesty and your heart. I have been reading your blog since I can't even remember when and what always draws me back is your sincerity and your willingness to expose your own vulnerabilities as a mother and as a person. You are doing an awesome job. Lighten up on yourself if you can and appreciate your own humanity. Your children are lucky to have you and vice versa. Xxx

  3. P.S. I am also a mother of mutiples ('just' twins!) and while I pride myself on my humility and down-to-earth approach, I can't say I would be brave enough to write a blog like this. Thanks for being an inspiration and for providing more than a few laughs along the way ;)

  4. Great Lesson learned. Forgiveness is so healing and we can move on.