Apologies to My Children, at Ages 7 & 5

(I wrote some apologies to my kids four years ago -- I thought it was time for a followup.)


I'm sorry I don't always have the patience to endure the near-constant barrage of pshew pshew pshew sound effects that come out of your noise-hole. I don't know what mental movie is playing so frequently in your active little brain, but I suspect it's directed by Michael Bay and gets a one-and-a-half-star rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I'm sorry if I sometimes fail to assemble my facial features into a properly stunned expression when you show me your latest Lego creation, and I'm sorry for that one time I deadpanned, "Boy, I can't WAIT to step on that thing in the dead of night" instead of marveling over your building skills, which are in fact quite impressive.


I'm sorry I cannot share your unbridled enthusiasm for "Gangnam Style" and I'm sorry for whatever grievous schoolyard situation exposed you to the accompanying dance, which you have no qualms about performing in line at the grocery store.

I'm sorry that you're still such a pain about trying new foods, and I'm sorry you cry so easily over small hurts, and I'm sorry you can be annoyingly rigid about certain things. I'm sorry that I'm not always completely understanding of the ways in which you are sensitive, and I'm sorry that I don't always know where to draw the line between firmness and gentle coaching and I'm sorry that I'm basically making up this parenting shit as I go along. I'm sorry that it doesn't seem fair that you have to endure the clumsy flailings of amateurs, when you are the most important work of my life.

I'm sorry that I still grab your butt sometimes, and that I swoop you sideways into my arms and force you to endure loud gobbly mom-kisses. I'm sorry if I embarrass you by telling you every day how handsome and smart I think you are. I'm sorry I make you hold hands with me and your brother whenever we cross busy parking lots, and that I always shout "Ducklings!" while you two make loud quacking noises. I'm sorry I leap onto your bed every night and say, "WHAT NEVER HAPPENS IN THIS HOUSE?" and you roll your eyes and recite: "Mommy never forgets to tuck Riley in." I'm sorry I like to sneak back in, long after you've fallen asleep, to check just one last time.

I'm sorry, but you'll always secretly be my favorite.


I'm sorry you are so crippled with shyness when you're around other people, but when you're home with me, you never stop talking EVER. I'm sorry for the number of times I've replied to your chirpy question with a distracted "Mmm-hmmm" only to belatedly realize I've just agreed that sharks can be milked or that astronauts put corks in their butts to stop them from space-pooping. I'm sorry your easy good cheer can switch with mercurial speed and that your small fury has the intensity of a thousand burning suns stomping around in 5T pants.

I'm sorry your baby-soft edges and rolls have long been replaced by knobby knees and jabby elbows and a strong little boytorso, but whenever I look at you, I see the improbable perfection of you being your own glorious growing self, stationed in this lovely place past the land of toddlerhood, yet not quite in the school-aged world. I'm sorry I like to tickle you and nom your cheeks and pretend I am a mother whistlepig grooming her baby and I'm particularly sorry about that last one because let's be honest, son, that just sounds weird as hell.

I'm sorry that I can't always give 100 percent of my attention to you. I'm sorry I don't indulge you in as many games of Old Maid as you'd like. I'm sorry I'm kind of over this stage you're in where you want to jump over various things and you constantly demand that I watch all your big, HUMONGOUS jumps and I'm sorry I am seriously just so tired of the jumping, uh-huh, yup, that was a big one.

I'm sorry that there sometimes seems to be a sort of gulf between us, one that has to do with me feeling like you see me as the boring parent who does boring things like work at the computer or run errands, while Dad is the incredibly awesome one you wish you spent your days with. I'm sorry I'm not better about not taking such things personally. I'm sorry you'll never know how I visualize myself erasing this distance every single night when I smother you in kisses and tell you over and over how very much I love you, and remind myself that tomorrow is another day that I get to be your mom, and what an indescribable joy that is.

I'm sorry, but you'll always secretly be my favorite.

Image via Linda Sharps

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