And if You Don't Forgive Me, I'll Understand

Dear Mommy,

I’m very sorry for talking back.  I love you … Please forgive me.  And if you don’t, I understand.

Love B

I found this note while cleaning some dresser drawers.  A note from my daughter written in bright red permanent marker.  A sticky note was attached to it, a hasty, makeshift piece of tape, to keep it on the door so I would see it when I got home.

On the back is a short printout from the computer and the date stamped on the bottom is 1/6/04.  That would have made my daughter 14.

I really have only a vague memory of this and when I showed it to her, she smiled and said she remembered.

What struck me about the note was the fact that if I didn’t forgive her, she’d understand.  Not forgive her?  How could she possibly understand that?  I can’t even imagine it.

The years slip by so quickly.  One minute there’s three children running around the house and the next, there are three adults (and all their friends) going up and down the stairs and in and out of the kitchen.

Forgiveness never came easy for me.  I was taught to hold a grudge, to cut off all ties even if the alleged offense was small and petty.

It’s still hard for me.  My instinct is to do what I was taught and shown, but through my children, I’ve taken a different path.

As the years slip away and I embark on the autumn of my life, the tables have turned.  I’m still the parent, but instead of being the teacher, I’ve become the student.

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