Day 5: Sorry

I couldn’t blame her.

I couldn’t blame Katie because I hit the snooze button a couple of extra times that morning.  I couldn’t blame Katie because I was nervous about leading a district-wide inservice that day.  I couldn’t blame Katie because we were tripping over the painter’s tarps spread throughout our house.  I couldn’t blame Katie because we were crammed in the crowded laundry room which was also doing double duty as our temporary kitchen.  (We are remodeling.)

I couldn’t.

But when she discovered the cardboard hanger for her teddy bear’s outfits in the garbage can and let out a wail and a Mommy how could you throw this away…all the stresses of the morning bubbled to the surface and landed on her.  My patience shattered and my voice thundered.

We drove to daycare in silence.  Katie’s tears mixed with Maddie’s silence mixed with my regret.

I hung Katie’s backpack in her cubby.  I knelt down beside her and wrapped her in my arms.  “Mommy is sorry for yelling at you, Katie.  I am very sorry.”

Katie smiled, and I kissed her cheek.  “I love you, Katiebug,” I said into her ear.  She didn’t answer.

And to be honest, I couldn’t blame her.


I’m writing a Slice of Life Story every day for the month of March.  See more at Two Writing Teachers.


26 thoughts on “Day 5: Sorry

  1. Your anaphoral beginning piqued my curiosity! I had to read on to find out just what happened. I’m the end, I’m glad you didn’t blame Katie. Great post!

  2. The best parents I know (and I know many) always apologize to their children after yelling at them. I don’t know if they do it all the time, or after a particularly nasty yelling. It doesn’t matter. What matters is saying “I’m sorry” to your kids. I just think that’s one of the most important things for them to hear from a parent – who really means it. We are human, right? Stress happens. Your piece certainly depicts that – your girls know that you are human and humans apologize. Maybe a tough one to write – but oh-so-important.

  3. Been there. The important thing is letting your kids know that sometimes we make mistakes too. And that adults need to apologize as well. Thank you for sharing the tough stuff too.

  4. “Katie’s tears mixed with Maddie’s silence mixed with my regret.”

    Love that sentence, love this post!

    Thank you for reminding me about the importance of apologizing. Like the other commenters, I agree, our kids need to know that we make mistakes….equally important is modeling how to proceed after the mistake has been made. I think it is so important to apologize to our students as well when we are in the wrong. If I get short-tempered with a student in front of the whole class, I try to apologize in front of the whole class, too.

  5. We were leaving yesterday for a trip, and I discovered in our barn our heifers had pushed a fence down, and made a mess that was not communicated to me. So, as I’m driving to get things to put up a fix, I called and blew up at one of my daughters, though I probably shouldn’t have.

    Later, before we left, I gave her a hug and said I’m sorry. All we can do as parents is model that behavior of saying “I’m sorry” after we’ve let our emotions get the better of us. While we aren’t perfect, we can show what to do when adults make mistakes. It sounds like you did just that.

    Thank you for sharing your slice with us. We’ve all been there, that is for sure! 🙂

  6. I LOVE this post. It captures so well the complexity of a mother-daughter relationship. The line, “Katie’s tears mixed with Maddie’s silence mixed with my regret” really hit home to me. It captured so well the mood of the car ride and reminded me of too many familiar fights with my mom the same way.

    Incredible message. Very reflective on the day.

  7. This is an incredibly powerful reflection upon love and forgiveness, stress and life. The best part is that she loves you boundlessly, so will forgive you in a way that only young hearts can. And you’ve taught her the power of authentic apology when even an adult has made a mistake. That’s a life lesson right there.

  8. What wonderfully written, reflective slice! You capture a moment that many parents can relate to.

    A couple of lines really stand out for me-
    “…all the stresses of the morning bubbled to the surface and landed on her. My patience shattered and my voice thundered.”
    “We drove to daycare in silence. Katie’s tears mixed with Maddie’s silence mixed with my regret.” Your choice of words and the way you repeat some of them create a sort of rhythm and help to establish a tone of remorse. Very effective. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Oh Dana, we have all been in that situations, and all felt those regrets. Your “Katiebug” knows how much you love her…..and it’s obvious to the world how much you love her.

  10. We all have those moments and we all have that regret. Thank you for sharing such a personal story. I am tearing up just thinking of the ways I’ve done this to my son as well. The important part is that you said you were sorry before you left her for the day. She knows how much you love her.

  11. Aw, we all have those moments every now and then, and always at the worst times. Even though you wish you could take it back, I’m positive your daughter knows how deeply she’s loved (reading this, her reaction is perfect evidence that this is an isolated, out-of-the-ordinary incident). Remember, it’s always easier to beat ourselves up over one bad day than to celebrate all the good ones. 🙂

  12. I’m so sorry you had such a rough morning. And oh man, have I been there, so I can certainly emphasize with your regretful feelings. We are moms. We are human. We get stressed. We love our children. We apologize. We move on.

    I hope you have a good weekend.

  13. Hopefully Katie came around, because I couldn’t even imagine the stress of leading the institute day. Hopefully she will realize how well her mom did, and understand that sometimes we will all have a stressful morning that lead to us maybe doing something we didn’t mean. As she grows up I am sure she will pay you back and then some for your outburst.

  14. Remember the movie, As Good as It Gets? The one with Jack Nicholson & Helen Hunt. There is a scene that comes to mind every time I ready your writing, Dana. You make me want to be a better writer. Thank you for this gift. For pushing me to become better! I didn’t know I was waiting for you, but now that you are here, I see what I’ve been missing!

  15. Uh. I feel your guilt and pain. I’ve been there too. I’ve had to apologize for my own stresses in life. I’ve walked away sulking with my heart in pieces. What’s difficult to understand is that usually as I walk away holding onto that while my daughter walks away and is distracted at school. I appreciate your honesty and openness. And you are not alone.

  16. I love this story and your writing, I feel like everyine who gets to read your Slice each day is brought into a small part of your world. I know we talked about this yesterday when we were together, but I think it’s important that children see and hear us adults apologize, to know we are human and make mistakes too.

  17. Oh, Dana, how many times have I felt this very unjust eruption of feelings. I love every bit of this writing, but my favorite words were these~

    My patience shattered and my voice thundered.
    We drove to daycare in silence. Katie’s tears mixed with Maddie’s silence mixed with my regret.
    I can feel the angst, the regret and the love.

    Love the repetition at the opening of your post!

  18. Ugh…how many times as a parent have we experienced this ‘gut punch’? You really nailed it, as you show us: sometimes it’s our sweet child who lays that one teensy straw across the camel’s back and only in retrospect can we honestly admit “I couldn’t blame her.” HUGS!!!!

  19. My heart was breaking when I read this because I have been there too and I could feel your pain. When I read your posts I can hear you talking; you do a great job with that. I feel like I am talking with you face to face!!!
    Hope all is better now.. (I’m sure it is :))

  20. Oh my gosh! We all have those moments where we blow up at someone we love and instantly regret it. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Katie will understand. Your love shines through this post. Tomorrow will be better.

  21. I remember those drives to school with my Katie. Crazy, frustrating mornings can cause such stress! I always relied on their unconditional love, even though they didn’t want to show it sometimes.

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