Mess Cat was over today, and we just visited. The way folks do. Sat on the furniture that’s for sitting and talked about a little bit of everything. It was awesome. She’s been working on home projects and so have I, so this was a nice respite for us, as our littles played together.
We started talking about our personalities and how they are different. An incident from when I was in fourth grade came to mind. My teacher, Mrs. W, who had taught my Daddy and my Uncle, was teaching us about quotation marks. We were to write a sentence using quotation marks. Correctly. She asked a few of us to write our sentences on the chalkboard.
I loved writing on the chalkboard. Something that has continued on to the whiteboards in my adulthood.
So I was thrilled when she called on me. I went up and wrote my sentence on the board. I had tried to step outside the box and make my sentence a little different.
My sentence was:
“She said she was going to town.”
As in someone asks, “Where did Mess Cat go?”
And I would reply…..
so proper use, right?
Only Mrs. W corrected me, had me correct it on the board, and totally misinterpreted my meaning. She wanted,
She said, “She was going to town.”
Which doesn’t even make sense, am I right?
I was a people pleaser. So I never said a word or tried to explain myself. That was 36 years ago. And I’m still carrying it. What is that about?
I told Mess Cat today that I’m trying to outgrow that, living as others expect, trying to people please. It hasn’t always been healthy for me, holding in what I’m really thinking, what I really believe. And I’m paying for it, so I’ve decided no more. I’m not talking about showing out or picking fights. I’m just going to quit apologizing for certain things I do or say or believe.
So here goes:
–Today while we were visiting, my oldest called me a name. And it made me laugh. “Helicopter Mama.” I looked over at her, and she nodded, “Yeah. You. You hover.”
Y’all. For the love. I busted out laughing. Forget monogramming. I am so having that put on something. A name I’ll wear with pride.
Because I am. You got it. And baby girl, I know you are 18. Legal in different ways, still not in others. However, here’s what you need to know and I’m not sorry a bit. I will always be your helicopter Mama. I will be hovering when you are my age, good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise. I love you, I want what’s best for you, and forgive me if sometimes I think I might know what’s what a little better than you do. Or when I ask too many questions. Or when I worry because you got off from work 45 minutes ago and I still haven’t heard anything. *ahem* I’m asking for forgiveness but I am not apologizing. It’s part of what I signed up for nineteen years ago when I was waiting on you to arrive. I hovered then, every little flitter or burp had to be interpreted…..and the first time you had hiccups in utero? Oh my land. Called the doctor I think. Or my Mama. So yeah, I’m the best Helicopter Mama there ever was and will be as long as my blades will turn. You call it hovering, I call it love. And I do. Love you.
–I’m done apologizing for my dog barking when folks come over. Yeah, she’s shy. She’s slow to warm up to new people. She barks like mad when someone comes through the door she doesn’t know. However, she loves like nobody’s business, and that is pure joy. Many nights my writing is delayed because she is laying at my right side, patting my right hand, wanting some attention and cuddles. That right there. That’s why I wanted a dog so much. While I wish she didn’t bark quite so much, and that my word about someone being okay could be enough, I’m done apologizing for it. I give thanks she is so attentive and protective of all of us. For such a sweet little fluffball, she’s a smart girl. And she knows who her people are.
–I have found myself apologizing for my child’s food allergies. Lately I’ve heard my own words, and I’ve thought, “What on earth? Why am I apologizing for taking the best care of my child that I can?”
No more apologizing to servers in restaurants as I explain for the umpteenth time about her allergies and ask them questions. I appreciate their compassion and attention to details and I will compensate them for it, but I won’t apologize for asking what I need to know to make sure she’s going to be okay. No more apologizing to folks when I have to carry separate food for this precious child. She’s okay with it, I’m okay with it, and I hope you will be too. (And I’ve never had anyone who wasn’t–such sweet Mamas at birthday parties–who let me know ingredients beforehand or who say “please, by all means, do whatever you have to do to feel okay for her sake.” This is an issue that is about my mindset, not theirs. For whatever reason I’ve felt like I should apologize for “inconveniencing” someone else, and I’m done with that.) And no more apologizing for the paranoia and OCD that comes with having a child with food allergies. I appreciate your help and your ideas and suggestions, but I’ve got this. I’ve been trusted with this child by a Power Higher than anyone who walks on two feet, so please, trust me too. I’m really trying to trust myself. It’s taken years for me to get where we are today, mentally and in our routine, so yeah, we got this. As “got this” as anyone can be in this situation I guess. It scares me to death on a regular basis just how fragile life is, so I really appreciate those who go out of their way to understand and to join the “Keep Princess okay” team. And there are many of you. Thank you.
–I’m done apologizing for where my children are in the learning process. When our Princess was “behind” learning to read, I stressed. I worried and I wondered. And I STRESSED. With Cooter I have worried a little, mostly because he didn’t seem the least bit motivated, but then, that’s who he is. He is motivated differently than either of my other two children, so I had to learn about what makes him tick. Once I did, it seemed like he took off. But we have many years ahead of us, and many more opportunities for me to worry and apologize for them being behind, ahead, or right on target. (Believe me, I have very nearly earned a doctorate in apologizing–I can find a reason in any situation for me to need to say “I’m sorry.” But no more. I hope.)
My house. Oh good gravy. It’s a cluttered mess. Especially right now. In transition. Moving precious memories and things from my growing up home to my home now. I want to be a good steward of all of it, and if I can’t, then I need to let it go. (Is that song playing in your head now? I would apologize, but…..) I want not to feel like I need to apologize every time someone walks through my door. “I’m sorry it’s such a mess.” Oh my. That would be nice. And the only way I can change that is to do something about the clutter. And I am. Oh, it won’t be huge, I guess. We still live, work, play, eat, sleep, and learn here–pretty much 24/7–but it could use some organizing and culling…..and we are on it. Seriously. Be impressed. I did not inherit my Mama’s organization gene.
–My faith. My beliefs. My values. So many times I hold my tongue for fear of offending someone else because I know they wouldn’t understand; I know their beliefs are different. I don’t want to upset anyone. And yet, I get so frustrated when I see others who are more conservative with different beliefs being so vocal and adamant that their way is the. Only. Way. I need to reach a better balance. I need to be able to speak my mind, respectfully, without picking an argument. And I need to be able to share my opinions and thoughts gently without feeling apologetic. *deep breath* This is going to take a while. It’s a hard one. But no more apologizing for what or who I am. I just can’t do it, and I’m not being true to myself if I do.
–Finally, I am trying to stop apologizing for my slow progress on the whole grief journey. When I was with Hospice many years ago (is it possible that it’s been thirteen years?), I came across something that blows the whole “wandering on a path” idea of grieving out of the water. It was a Grief Wheel. And the thing is that you can go round and round on it a few times before heading towards Recovery, and sometimes the least little things–something you come across, a song on the radio, the smell of sweet potatoes baking or squash cooking in the skillet–can send you right back on that wheel again. It’s not a long and winding road with an end in sight. It’s cyclical, and no two days might ever look alike on this journey. There are days I just can’t be a part of the world and all that is going on, and there are days that I can’t wait to get out there and be with everyone and all that is. Those days are not common, but they happen more than they used to. I am sure I seem sad sometimes; I am. I know I must seem angry too; I am. I probably seem very lost; yep, that one too. But I have joyful and happy moments too. It’s all a part of figuring out my life without folks whom I loved and respected and went to when the world came crashing down or everything was awesome. They multiplied my joys and divided my sorrows and were a safe place for me to land. I’m sorry they are gone, but I’m not sorry for missing them. I have to work through it at my own pace, and I need to stop feeling like I need to apologize to everyone for where I’m at.
Years ago in my previous life, I had a friend who was a manicurist. She pointed out to me on a Tuesday evening over a beautiful French tip manicure that I said “I’m sorry” way too much. She told me that the world did not need me to nor did it expect me to apologize with every other breath. I felt a little put off at the time, but you know what I said to her? Yep. “Oh, I didn’t realize. I’m sorry.” Sigh.
Over the years that conversation has come back to me. And I’ve realized more and more that she was right. I did apologize for things that an apology was not necessary for. As though I need to apologize for my mere existence taking up space. It’s not about others most of the time. It’s about me. Feeling intrusive, inconvenient, and in the way. Troubling others. Yes, occasionally it was because someone made me feel “in the way” or “a bother, ” and other times I needed to offer a real apology. But way too many times, it was about me, myself, and I. And my skewed perceptions.
So I’m done. I’m going to try to hold back on apologizing for these things that are a part of my world and just are what they are. Apologizing is not healthy in every case, and if I’m wrong, well…..then.
Oh boy, this is going to be a long rehabilitation.
Love to all.
PS–Did anyone notice all the proper use of quotation marks throughout? In the words of Eeyore, “Thanks for noticing.” 🙂