Saturday, October 6, 2007
Sunday Scribblings: Sorry
I remember being a child. My own children might find that hard to believe. They believe that I was a child. They buy into that. And while they are all imaginative little beings, they have a hard time imagining that I once walked the Earth as an infant, as a baby, as a child, as a teenager. They will ask me questions about my childhood, but you can see it in their eyes that they can’t totally believe my recall of it. These kids, who so easily believe in the tooth fairy and in Santa Claus and who create elaborate imaginary worlds of their own to inhabit, can’t fathom me as a child.
But I was once a child. I was. And if I spend enough time thinking about it, I can remember emotions I held, fears I kept within, and pain I tried my best to hide. I can remember being in trouble. I can remember annoying a parent or a sibling just to annoy them. I can remember plotting against other siblings. I can remember getting caught.
And I can remember how hard it was to spit out the words, “I’m sorry” and make them appear to be real so whoever was forcing me to apologize would feel I meant it. Why did they have to be heartfelt? Because if you couldn’t make the emotions appear to be present – when they were certainly not – then you continued to be in trouble. But if I could appease my mother and, less often, my father, then I could continue to go about doing my own little thing, unhindered, unpunished.
What brings this all to mind – besides the prompt from Sunday Scribblings this week – is seeing my own children struggle to attain the same convincing attitude so that I will get off their case. So they can continue to watch TV or play games or stay at the dinner table or stay out of their rooms.
Since I consider myself a pro at the art of apology utterances which hold no meaning beyond a pass key to freedom, the kids have a tougher go of it. I am relentless in doling out punishment until I feel they are, in fact, truly sorry. Are they sorry for whatever misdeed? Maybe. But they’re sorrier for themselves far more.
You know what? Sometimes, that’s enough.
[Now, go read others’ Sunday Scribblings. You won’t be sorry. A final postscript: All this was written having seen someone else mention that "Sorry" was the prompt for this week's Sunday Scribblings. I just went over there and, in fact, the ladies were saying they were sorry, but there wouldn't be a prompt this week. In the end, it appears "Sorry" is the prompt. So look at the comments section to find others' links. Sorry for the confusion. Heh heh heh.]
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