Friday, December 30, 2011

Making the Best of Mistakes

Dear Delilah,

Yesterday, something happened that I'm not very proud of. While your lunch cooled on the counter behind me, I rinsed the dirty dishes in the sink, singing and laughing with you while you played at my feet. Suddenly, I heard your plate hit the floor, and whipped around to see the cats greedily chowing down on your lunch. In anger and frustration, I shouted as my foot hastily shot out toward the cats, grazing Nala's back end.

Who am I kidding? Let's not sugar coat this. I kicked the cat.

Nala with Delilah @ 8 Months Old
It doesn't matter that I didn't kick hard enough to hurt her. I doesn't matter that she's so fast that I barely made contact. What matters is that you saw your mother react, out of anger, with violence. What matters is that I was violent toward an animal. Not just an any animal, but an animal that you love dearly. And you were scared. And upset. I immediately regretted it.

I scooped up your tiny body, trembling with fear and sobs, and I told you that Mama was wrong to do that. I crouched down with you in my arms to gently pet Nala and tell her that I was sorry, and that I was wrong to kick her. I explained to you as simply as I could that I was angry at Nala and Rowdy for ruining your lunch, but that what I did wasn't okay, and that it is never okay to hurt animals or people on purpose. As tears filled my own eyes, I apologized for scaring you and the kitties.

I made a mistake, and it is weighing heavy on my heart. I remember witnessing violence towards animals when I was a child myself. I remember how helpless and confused I felt. It gives me great distress to think that I made you feel those things. There is nothing that will make what I did okay. That said, I hope that by taking the time to apologize and calmly explain that what I did was wrong, what you take away from it will not be fear and anger. I hope that what will stay with you is that I admitted my mistake and tried to make amends for it.

Like all humans, I make mistakes. You are going to see some of those mistakes, and they might be hard for you to understand. Still, as your parent, it is my duty to quickly admit my mistakes and explain how and why my actions were wrong. It is my responsibility to teach you that we must try to learn from our mistakes and do everything in our power to make things right.

I'm sorry I kicked your kitty, and I'm sorry I scared you, but in the end, I'm not sorry that you saw it. What you saw was not merely an act of violence with no purpose or explanation, but the process of making a mistake, realizing it, and trying to make it better. I can't promise you that I will never react poorly out of anger again, but I can promise you that I will always make every effort to be an example of making the best of every mistake.

Love,

Mama



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1 comment:

  1. Oh, I could say "Who am I kidding - let's not sugar coat this: I _____" [insert egregious mistake here] um, practically everyday.

    It's not about the mistakes that we make but about how we treat the mistakes that we make that defines the way our children see and learn from us. With compassion for ourselves, realistic expectations, and honest apology and contrition, we teach our children much more than if we were perfect every day of our lives.

    <3 hugs, mama! The kitty forgives you ;)

    ReplyDelete

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