So, last fall (I think it was last fall, maybe it was last spring?), I was sitting with Mary at an awesome Kids-Eat-Free lunch when a friend walked in with her family. I have known this family for many, many years. In fact, I’ve known her extended family for many, many years also. My friend’s sister is also my friend from way back when Lucy took ballet at age three. We were talking, and since I know her sister well, she shared exciting news, that her niece (Lucy’s friend from ballet who is now grown up like Lucy) was getting married.
I was like, “Wow!” All the time thinking in my head that she was Lucy’s age and Lucy was going to college and this sweet girl was getting married. I don’t know what came over me, but I said the horrible words. The terrible, awful, judgmental words, “Wow, are they pregnant?”
“No, they are not expecting,” said my friend in a careful voice with a smile on her face.
Immediately, I wanted to crawl into a hole.
What possessed me? What evil being crawled inside of me and erupted at that moment? I had become THAT PERSON. Not on purpose, but it happened.
I was horrified with myself.
I have chewed on this for a long time. I see my friend and her family everywhere, the grocery store, Target, and oh right, the preschool where Mary and her youngest children are friends and have grown up together. They are precious and I adore them and I have, ever since that horrible moment, felt like a heel.
A few months ago as I’m mentally flogging myself for such awful words, I vowed that next time I saw her I would apologize. I would tell her how sorry I was for saying something so thoughtless and crass. I’m not usually that person.
This morning we had a little breakfast at the preschool. Mary had painted a flowerpot with flowers and her teachers had interviewed her. According to Mary, I have blue eyes and light brown hair (she’s right), I am 100 feet tall and weigh 100 pounds.
Don’t I wish?
Dad’s interview sheet says that he has NO hair and brown eyes, is 16 feet tall and weighs 100 pounds. She’s right on the money with the hair and eyes, but again, just a tad off with the height and weight.
Anyway, we are walking in and my friend, her husband and two of her kids that are still in the preschool (she has older kids like I do, 5 total) walked in with us. Here was my chance. I touched her hand and said, “Hey, I need to talk to you before we leave.”
True to form she was like, “Uh, oh, what did I do?”
I laughed and said, “Oh no, its all me.”
So anyway, during the breakfast, her husband had gone to the food table with the kids and I leaned back (she was sitting at the table next to mine) and I spilled my guts. I reminded her of our conversation way back when and told her how sorry I was to have said that. That it was judgmental and awful and I should know better. (Remember when I told you about the grocery cashier who asked me if my kids all had the same father? Yeah, awkward and strange question.)
She was so wonderful.
“Honestly? I don’t even remember, but you are forgiven. I never even thought another thing about it,” was what she said to me with laughter in her voice. She then went on to tell me a story about herself and an awkward situation. I got teary and she said it was okay.
You are forgiven.
I felt better.
So what is this thing about forgiveness and why is it so hard to ask for? Why is it sometimes hard to bestow?
Every day, I pick Abby and Mollie up from school at 4:15 and take them to swim practice. They swim for two hours and three days a week have an extra hour of dry land after that. They don’t get home until 8:40 on those days. They are starving because the meal I make them to eat in the car (notice I said meal, not snack) has long since burned away. It is hard to make a full meal for them every day at 3pm. I run out of ideas. I don’t have what they like. They are in the mood for something else. Today, I made them pressed ham and cheese sandwiches with a side of fresh fruit. Mollie was less than enthusiastic about her snack. I offered to take it back so she wouldn’t have to eat it, but she begrudgingly ate it anyway. Let me just say that her attitude and my attitude about her attitude didn’t make for the greatest car ride.
When I got home, she texted me.
“Thank you for the snack and I’m sorry I acted that way.”
“Do you forgive me?”
Thinking back to my morning, I immediately wrote back.
“Of course, I’ll always forgive you.”
Pay it forward, people. Pay it forward.