(As shared on Decoding Your Child Facebook Post on 14 Feb 2019)
So last night, my 14-yo asked me to help dry her hair as she has hurt her shoulder and can’t raise her arm to hold the hairdryer.
As I dried her hair, nostalgia hit me. When was the last time I dried and brushed her hair? I couldn’t remember.
Then as if reading my mind, C started talking.
C: Mom, it has been so long since you dried my hair. I think the last time was at Falling Water or was it at Waterford? The house w a pond in the backyard.
Me: That’d be Falling Water.
C: You used to dry my hair everyday. Then one day, I told you I didn’t want you to dry my hair anymore because it was taking away my screen time.
Me: Oh, is that right? I don’t remember. I only know I haven’t dried your hair for a very long time.
C: Yes. I think you were very hurt when I said that.
Me: Was I? I can’t remember.
C: I remember thinking about what I had said when I was in bed that night and realised it was not a nice thing to say. I felt “ouch!” But I never apologised to you. I’m sorry.
Me: it’s ok. I didn’t take it to heart.
And after that, she gave me a big hug.
Lesson for Me
We parents usually don’t remember the hurts caused by our kids. Otherwise we would have been too wounded to function.
Maybe I was hurt at that time. But because I had buried it or chose to forget it, it didn’t bother me.
But MAYBE I still carried the hurt unconsciously because I realised her apology had lifted me. It showed me she was aware, and it showed she cared because it had bothered her that I was hurt. And I actually felt lighter.
Maybe I WAS hurt but her apology has healed it.
And it’s obvious that careless comment she made all those years ago (8 years?) still bothered her. But because she got the opportunity to apologise, her guilt got lifted and she got healed.
So, this Valentine’s Day, I strive to think about the hurts I may have caused my loved ones, the words I had said or things I had done that I had felt would have hurt them yet had never apologised for.
Maybe they won’t remember those trespasses of mine. But it doesn’t matter. Based on C and my interaction last night, I believe my overdue apologies will not only relieve me of my guilt, but also heal the unconscious wounds my loved ones have buried/ignored because of their love for me.
And I thank C for the precious gift of letting me see the value of apologies even if it seems like the other party doesn’t “mind”.
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!! 💖💖💖
And Happy Parenting!!! 😘