mistakes & motherhood
November 25, 2013 § 6 Comments
It began as an uncomfortable uncertainty, a nagging sensation that something unnamed was amiss. Looking over my daughter’s assignment notebook this evening I sifted through worries, wondering if her teacher shared my concerns. Like light flooding dark corners, I immediately suspected what I previously could not recall; I had missed my daughter’s parent-teacher conference.
Panicked I searched my phone for reassurance, grateful when nothing appeared on the day’s agenda. Hurriedly, desperate to prove my instincts wrong, I rounded the corner toward my paper calendar and noted my scrawling script firmly affirming my error and mocking my mistake. I had forgotten something previously unforgettable.
I spit my error into words like a bitter confession, dripping self-depreciating humor. My husband registered disbelief, but my daughter’s disappointment framed my failure in a painful silhouette of silence; holding me tightly to discomfort. In that moment I wanted to build a wall of excuses, stacked neatly with logic to explain away my mistake.
It would have been easy to conjure an acceptable excuse that I might find a convenient thread of dismissal from accountability. Instead I considered my children’s colorful errors in judgment and my lofty expectation of genuine remorse and honest admissions of error. I drafted an uncluttered apology to my daughter’s teacher and then settled into a separate apology to my daughter.
Here, where my children know I hold memories safe, I am pushing aside the urge to label myself unkindly for sympathy or to wallow self-righteously for reassurance. I am determined to wear my mistake among my words; holding this day alongside more accomplished moments of motherhood to better remember the sense of humility that accompanies recognition of fallibility. Modeling honesty and remorse as I endeavor to teach compassion and forgiveness rather than hiding my errors behind excuses.
To my daughter, Tonight I wanted to circle the minute hand back to a moment I might have done better; to claim the fragment of an hour designated to align those responsible for your education in attendance and attention. In loosing sight of this commitment I suggested you and your teacher were forgettable, your time and importance negotiable. You are more important than my error, your education greater than this mistake. I’m sorry. Love, Mom