I had an epitome today. I was putting Thomas in the car and went to pick a stray semi-dry rice crispy from his check (who hasn’t been there, amiright?) and when I peeled it off, he immediately gasped, “mama, you pinched me!” First off, adorable. Everything he says is adorable. So I laughed only a little and responded, “no, bud, I didn’t pinch you.” He got very stern and said, “yes, you did.” Only a LITTLE more laughter. “Thomas, I was getting the cereal off your face, I didn’t pinch you.” “Mama, you pinched me!”
This went on for about a full minute, Thomas insisting that I pinched him and me trying to explain to a two-year-old that this is why we need to wipe our faces after eating and BEFORE the food dries. I also tried to help him navigate his feelings (“is your cheek hurt or are your feelings hurt?”) and make him feel better (“do you want me to Mr. Miyagi your cheek or give it a kiss?”) but he was having none of it. He just kept repeating, “mama, you pinched me” until finally I said, “I’m sorry I pinched you.” Then he stopped, buckled his chest strap in his car seat, and moved on with his life.
I’ve been on both ends of an apology more times than I can count, and it usually sucks. This conversation with mini Gregg reminded me of how I need to apologize, but, admittedly, it mostly made me realize what I want from other people. I know, sounds kind of selfish. Maybe it’s because I seem to be feeling especially entitled to some genuine apologies lately. Eh, I’m gonna go with it, I’d say that I even deserve a few heartfelt, remorseful apologies. I don’t want anyone to grovel at my feet and beg for my forgiveness, but I’m having a hard time closing this chapter of done wrongedness without something, anything that resembles an apology.
Anyway, back to the adorable plight of my toddler. He didn’t want excuses or explanations. He didn’t want to be reasoned with or consoled. He didn’t want to hear that I didn’t do anything wrong. He just wanted me to say I was sorry. Sorry for hurting him. Didn’t matter how or why or whatever, just that something had hurt him and that I felt remorse for the part I played in it. That’s it.