I’m the mom who is forever saying, “I’m sorry.”
In line at the grocery store.
At the playground.
Sitting down to eat at a restaurant.
To the coach at Sunday morning T-ball.
In the classroom, at a party, in our own home.
You see the thing is, I’m also the mom of the of the wild child.
Or the spirited one if you are a fan of sugar-coating things. I’m the mom who is continuously apologizing for my child, sometimes without even realizing I’m doing it.
I could explain to the cashier that my child isn’t trying to make a scene, she just battles with attention issues that we are working incredibly hard on getting under control.
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I could explain to the other parents at the playground that we are working with her on the idea of “personal space” and that she is just the ultimate people person who loves affection and attention.
I could explain to the waiter that her disruption has nothing to do with the service and everything to do with having a child who needs and expects things to be exactly how she wants them. When the sausage comes out in the form of patties instead of links like she expected, it’s a literal mess in her mind.
I could explain to the coach that she doesn’t mean to keep tripping and interrupting the game, her little body just moves too fast for her own good, and suffering a brain injury at birth has led to motor skill delays that we are (again) working really hard on.
I could, and sometimes probably should, explain all of these things and the 1,000 other diagnoses/possibilities/explanations we have gotten over the last four years, but most days, it’s so much easier to just say “I’m sorry.” Most days I’m just too tired.
But at the end of the day, I’m really not sorry.
Okay, maybe sometimes I am, like when she is being intentionally rude or refusing to listen for the umpteenth time as most preschoolers do. However, a lot of the time, I’m not—and I shouldn’t be. She is young. She is growing. She is learning. And most times she is just like every other kid her age. Except for when she’s not and that is entirely out of her (and our) control.
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It’s easy to forget that those little eyes are always watching you. To forget that even though they don’t listen when you say clean up. those little ears hear just about everything (and I mean everything). We forget that that little mouth might as well belong on a parrot.
If I spend all day apologizing for my child and showing signs of embarrassment over every little thing, what does that say to them?
How am I sending them off into the world? Some of the things I view as her biggest flaws are just the opposite of that. One day down the road, she is going to prove it to me and the world.
Until then, I need to remind myself (and every other mom sitting there nodding with me saying she gets it) that while my child is loud and wild and beats to her own drum 110% of the time, she is also bright and bold and has a heart five times bigger than it should be for her little body.
And for those things, I will never say I’m sorry.