Jul 6, 2011

Being sorry isn't always enough

I broke my son's heart awhile ago.  I was the reason for the torrential sobs.  It is that awful feeling when a person knows they have really screwed up and there is no way out of it.  It is that awful feeling when a person know they have just crushed another person's confidence.  I can't take my actions back.

Some boys at school said awful things to my dear son the last day of school. They knew there wouldn't be any punishment.  He waited two days to work up the courage to tell me.  In his heart, he knew that I could make him feel better.  The moment happened as I was covering him up to put him to sleep.  I had just told him that I loved him.  I should have asked him if he was telling me because he thought it was funny or if it hurt his feelings. 

My son taking a break
With a 12 year old son, I don't always know why he is telling me something.  Sometimes it is to get someone in trouble.  Sometimes it is so I can laugh. Other times it is so I can take away some of his inner pain and carry it with me.  He has learned to guard his emotions so he doesn't start crying in school.  How sad is it that a 12 year old already knows how to protect his feelings?  I am sure he has known for much longer.  However, he would always tell me about it.  He is an important part of this world and I wish everyone that met him could see how important it is that he is alive.

I will not tell you what those boys with poor judgment told my son, but I can tell you that they really hurt him.  I laughed.  I didn't laugh at his pain, but at what the boys said.  I had never heard anything so ridiculous and I didn't think there was any way it could have hurt my son's feelings.  But I laughed.  Three short chuckles before he cried.  Not just a cry, but a You-just-broke-my-heart cry.  I handled it completely wrong.  He then spewed, "I am NEVER telling you anything again!"  I don't blame him.  I said sorry.  I told him that I thought he was telling me because he thought it was funny.  (Wrong thing to say again mama bear).  I made sure he knew what the boys said wasn't the truth.  He knew the boys were lying.  He wanted an ally in his pain.

As a mother, I have made tons of mistakes.  This is just the most recent one.   If I could go back to that moment, I would.  I would let him know what a precious child he is.  That he is so handsome.  I would tell him that the boys had poor judgment and that children should never try to purposely hurt each other.  I would do all of that instead of the laugh.

I hope that it isn't one of the memories that will be burned into his memory.  I hope that someday he will be able to trust me again.  I hope that I will understand why he is telling me something, or that I will be smart enough to ask.   Sometimes children say things out of the blue.  Sometimes they want us to laugh.  Other times they want us to cry with them.  Other times, they just want someone to talk to.

We have to forgive ourselves.  Eventually I will forgive myself for getting another bad Mom sticker.  We can only ask for forgiveness but we can't ask for amnesia.  My important lesson to handle things better.  Never assume why he is telling me something.  Ask before I react. 

I don't remember my mother messing up much.  I only hope that Matthew won't remember my monumental mess ups.  To anyone reading this, just know that I join the ranks of another imperfect mom whose son loves her anyway.  We make mistakes.  Saying sorry doesn't always heal the wounds.


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