As my children get older and more observant, I find myself thinking “Sh–, I should have done/said/handled that differently in front of my kids” more often than I’d like to admit. Sometimes it’s over something trivial, but sometimes it’s over something more serious that needs to be explained in detail later on.
I’m not a perfect anything: wife, mother, sister, friend, etc. Please don’t let pretty instagram photos fool you. I simply like beautiful things and moments and strive to capture them when I can. But more than anything else, my fundamental purpose as a mother is to prepare my kids for the world they have in front of them. So today (and yesterday and in the future), I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry about these important things you’ll experience being my child:
I’m Sorry I’m not Sorry You Saw Me Argue with your Dad
Look kid, your father and I love each other very much; but let me tell you something I want you to always remember: marriage is not all sunshine and rainbows. Truly, I wish it was. One of the worst things I can do for you is give you a false idea of what marriage looks like.
Above anything else, your father and I fundamentally respect one another. When we argue, nobody gets in another’s face, throws things, or uses physical force. While I’ll never go out of my way to show you our conflicts, it’s simply unrealistic to shield you from this reality as we grow together as a family. Marriage is amazing, but it’s tough. I hope with everything inside of me that life goes on as expected for you, and you grow up to marry someone that loves and respects you; but when you’re in the shit of it, you’ll discover an unfound respect for marriages that survive the dynamism of time.
Marriages are complex. There’s a lot of moving parts and there’s always a lot at stake. If you take anything away from seeing your father and me resolve conflict, take away the notion that at the end of the day, your father and I loved each other, respected each other immensely, and we never crossed that line. We understood that above anything else, we were a team. Anything that you experience in your eventual marriage that doesn’t have that at its foundation needs to be addressed immediately.
I’m Sorry I’m not Sorry You Heard Bad Words Today
While we were out the other day, you heard a group of adults using foul language. Every so often, you’ll hear me do it (like I said, not perfect). I’ve explained to you that there are adult words, and kid words, and that you are not allowed to use these words; but let me tell you something: just because something doesn’t exist in our household doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist outside of it.
The world is big out there, and it’s full of people making their own decisions. There are many things that I will tell you not to do that you will see other people do outside of our home. I never want to send you off into the world with a naïve understanding of what exists outside of our doors. The world is beautiful, but it can be very scary and intimidating too. Just because you see something outside of our home that I’ve advised you not to do, doesn’t make it right. It means people eventually make their own decisions (and someday you will make adult-decisions too). If you don’t agree with their decisions (and obviously they aren’t illegal), kindly do so respectively and move on with your life.
I’m Sorry I’m not Sorry Your Sibling Got the Last _____
Yesterday your sibling somehow managed to get the last treat in the pack. You freaked out. You’re still very young, but you’re old enough to start understanding this: sometimes people just get lucky.
Yesterday it wasn’t you, and I’m sorry, but it’s not my job (or anyone else’s) to create symmetrical situations out of asymmetrical circumstances. As you get older, you’ll find yourself in situations where it just wasn’t your time to be lucky (luck is different than skill, which I’ll get to next). It might start off that a classmate always wins silly contents, but it can evolve to your best friend randomly meeting and getting offered a job by the CEO of the company you want so bad to work for. It happens. As hard as it is, be happy for them. Learn this skill. Never think that someone else is responsible for offsetting the fact that it wasn’t your time for luck, or that you thought something was “unfair”.
I’m sorry I’m not sorry you didn’t make the team
Sigh, it will break my heart into a million pieces if you’re not chosen for the debate/dance/wrestling team; but while I wish I could shield you from all heartache, it’s important to learn that in life, you’re not always chosen, and you sure as hell don’t always win.
You’ll have to learn (and I’ll help you) how to cope with loss and failure, and what to do in order to be better next time. This is the most important thing I need to teach you. You must learn how to cope with failure, and how to channel your energy to keep moving forward. It starts with your extracurricular activities now, but it will continue far into your adulthood and in the professional world. Learn to be receptive to feedback, and to step back and examine criticism objectively. Learn not to quit, or get discouraged when something doesn’t go your way. Learn to always finish your commitments, even if you know the final result is not what you hoped for. Learn to accept loss graciously, and equally as important, accept your successes humbly. Always remember what loss feels like so that you can respect it as a necessary part of your journey.
These are things I’m simply not sorry about my little love. I love you today, tomorrow, and always with all of my heart.