This started as a rainy Sunday afternoon post, written while I’m feeling tired and not well, and psyching myself up for a twelve-hour night without Vinnie. He’ll be gone before dinner and home just as the children are unfolding themselves from their blankets and beginning their daily spilling of cereal and dropping of clementine peels, all over the kitchen counters.
This began as a post about how grateful I am, that though my husband will be gone for the night, I know that I won’t be alone in our home. I won’t jump at every sound, I won’t toss and turn, stirring with sounds of the house settling. I won’t feel alone.
It was going to be about how I appreciate living in a house with friends I trust, with people I love and who love me, and who somehow make things feel safer, simply by existing, one flight down the stairs.
But then, it began to branch out into the other directions, into the ordinary, perhaps less-than-perfect nuances of living like this, and the grace there is in loving people (and being loved) in spite of flaws and annoyances. And then I thought of how very flawed and annoying I am, and how grateful I am that these people, and even more, do treat me with love.
From there, I thought of this quote, which Jenny posted on social media weeks ago, but has lingered in the periphery of my mind and heart throughout the holidays:
I love that the quote includes the concept of all different types of love-familial, romantic, friendship. I reread the lines…”love is something different. Love is choosing to serve someone and be with someone in spite of their filthy heart”…and I thought of how easily forgiveness comes to me, but how difficult it is for me to accept that I’m forgiven.
I thought of how many times I want to scramble all of my misspoken words back into my arms and squeeze them back into my lungs, into my heart. I realized how hard it is, for me, to accept being loved and accepted, wanted.
Loving others comes easily to me, but too many times I find myself apologizing when things aren’t what I’d hoped they’d be (for those that I love) – when I feel as though I haven’t done all that I could, or if what I’ve done falls short.
When the dinner isn’t cooked quite right. When I haven’t bought the right snack, or I’ve mixed a drink wrong. When I’m late. When I’m sick. When I can’t help with childcare. When I talk too much, or say something foolish (so, pretty much always), I apologize.
I hadn’t even realized it, until Jake came to pick up Kiernan after work last week and in our brief conversation, and in handing him a plate of leftovers from the children’s dinner, he asked me, twice, “can you stop saying you’re sorry?”
What was I even sorry for? For…microwaving the potatoes too long? For the steak being tough because it had been reheated? For what? For babbling? I really don’t even remember. But, he was right, I’d apologized more than once.
I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions. And now, more than a week into the year, I thought I’d done pretty well to avoid even mentioning the very concept anywhere. I’m fine with my body. I’m happy with my life. I’ve got enough work and family and ideas to keep me busy from now until 2025, at least. Resolutions don’t even factor into my brain.
But, now, here’s the thought that this blog post evolved into: I want to stop being sorry. I want to stop apologizing for being myself. I want to take the quote from above, and apply it to myself.
Because, “the truth is, the more intimately you know someone, the more clearly you see their flaws…” Who do I know better than myself? Whose flaws are more pronounced than my own, in my heart? Who is more in need of a little of the grace I’m trying to give, than myself?
I want to teach my daughters and sons, too, that apologies are for when you’ve hurt someone, or when you’ve done wrong. But, it’s never necessary to apologize for being who you are or for trying your very best. And grace, like love and kindness, starts at home, and it starts in your own heart.
So, it’s not a resolution, more of a realization. I will be sorry for mistakes that I make…but I’ll try not to apologize for being my (awkward, messy, not-always-right, and certainly not-nearly-perfect-in-anyway-shape-or-form) self.
Here’s to a year without regrets…though, wait, that’s highly unlikely, given that I make regretful decisions on a weekly basis, and what, with Mommy-Guilt and all…so, perhaps, just a year without superfluous apologies will do.
Cheers to that.
This makes sense, Melanie. We should only apologize for things that are Really Wrong. And we’ll know what those are. Best, KB