i’m sorry, hold the but

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{image is a photo of me and Katie laughing together on the beach, courtesy of Connerton Photography, all rights reserved} 

Katie and I are hanging out in my room. We’re sitting on the floor, as you do.

“Mama,” she says, “Do you want to tell me what’s bothering you? I mean, you don’t have to or anything, but maybe I can help.”

My mind races through a debate. I feel like I’m talking to a friend, but I have to remember that I’m not. I mean, I am, there’s no question that I’d want this kid to be my friend even if she weren’t my child, but she is in fact my thirteen year-old daughter. Her job is to be my kid, not my confidante. But then again, maybe it will be an opportunity to talk about some good, meat-on-the-bone, real-life issues and to guide her through the intricacies of interpersonal relationships and to talk about safety and privacy and self-respect and love and, Ooh, and if I talk to her about my stuff (when it’s appropriate), she’ll be more likely to talk to me about her stuff and I am desperate to keep us talking because nothing is more important to me than  …

I interrupt the internal monologue to say, “Hmm, well, I guess.”

I tell her about the argument. I tell her that I was angry and hurt and upset. I tell her that I didn’t handle it very well. That I’m not proud of that. That because I didn’t handle it well, the other person got angry and hurt and upset too and that he had every right to be but that it doesn’t change the fact that what he did didn’t feel okay and that I needed to say that.

She listens intently, then asks a question.

“May I give you advice?”

I smile, thinking that I’m humoring her. “Sure, kiddo,” I say, “hit me.”

“Well, do you think you might have overreacted?” she asks.

I nod. “Definitely,” I say. “And I said that, as a matter of fact. I told him that I was sorry that I overreacted, but that I was really uncomfortable with what he had done.”

“Okay,” she says, “here’s my advice. I think you should tell him that you’re sorry that you overreacted. And then keep the, “But I .. ” inside your head. It sounds like you’ve already said that part. Just say you’re sorry now. I’ll bet he will too, but that’s not really the point.”

I’m speechless.

I mean, holy crap. That’s, well, yeah.

 

“That’s some damned good advice, kiddo,” I say.

“Yeah,” she says, tapping her temple while wearing her Mama’s signature smirk. “Thirteen year olds don’t get a lot of credit, but we have some pretty good ideas.”

You do indeed, my love.

You do indeed.

Don’t mind me, kid. I’m just here to pay the bills.

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{image is a photo of me kissing my beautiful girl, taking her all in for as long as she’ll let me. Photo courtesy of Connerton Photography, all rights reserved.}

 

11 thoughts on “i’m sorry, hold the but

  1. Katie has always had an old and wise head on a young person and I would love her to be my friend any day. She has always been so very special just like her mom.
    Love you,
    Dad

  2. You never know the wisdom our kids have until you ask. My 17 year old daughter is like that, too. In fact, sometimes she is more mature than I am. And you are right. The more open you are with her regarding your life and problems, the more open she will be with hers. My daughter and I probably know way too much about each other, but I would rather have that than not enough.

    • A long time ago, when my kids were really little, a very wise person told me: “Listen to them! If they want to relate the whole of the cartoon they just saw, listen! If they go through the whole “Then Sally said…” And then I said…. Then Jeannie said….” Listen! If you keep listening they’ll keep talking” and it worked. My kids are all in their 30’s now and they never have shut up! Best advice i ever got!!!

  3. My mom told me that once you say “but” you’ve erased what came before it. I love you, but… Or I’m sorry, but…or I kk now you meant well, but.

  4. in simple words – YOU – and your family – are just…AWESOME…

    I am a forty-eight year old woman with no children. I have 7 bothers and sisters and 23 beautiful nieces and nephews that I LOVE dearly.

    As crazy as it sounds, Facebook recommended your page to me several months ago. I have been a “lurker” ever since. I don’t have any family members on the spectrum, but your posts resonate with me daily.

    I come from a GREAT family too, But we also have had our ups and downs. My mom died young – 48 – and my dad passed at 68. Our family suffered deeply from these loses, but it also made us closer/stronger.

    As a family, all of us “kids” just recently participated in a golf tournament/fundraiser in memory of my dad. The foundation raised over $500K in scholarship funds for deserving high-schoolers in Naples, FL.

    As I mentioned previously, I don’t have any siblings or extended family on the spectrum. Like you, our family has had its unique challenges; a brother who is gay, a sister who was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at 50 and cancer scares for many. But we survive…we learn…we cope…we live and most importantly WE LOVE.

    Thank you for inviting me into your world. In appreciation, I have just donated $1K to
    SenseAbility Gym on your behalf. I hope the swing keeps Brooke and your family flying high! You all deserve the BEST!

    Many thanks for all you do and the words, wisdom and thoughts that keep us thinking and making us better people! Keep up the good work Jess!

    XO

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