The Key = I’m Sorry

I know…. I know….. I haven’t posted in a while! I’m sorry.

I wanted to share some pocket-wisdom that popped out of my head the other day. Pocket wisdom is something that you already know about, you might just not call it “pocket-wisdom” just yet. Pocket-wisdom is a piece of insight from someone that you KNOW you’re going to need later… so you put it in your pocket!

If you’ve read any of my other blog posts, you know by now that I have a very spirited older child. She’s 9.5 years old now and this kid has started displaying resilient signs of steep pride. Meaning, she can’t back down and she can’t apologize. I say “can’t” because we all know she won’t, but it’s to the point now that she’s more like an apology diabetic. Her body just can’t produce the apologetic insulin, and I’m going to have to provide her with regular injections of humility… and hope she doesn’t go into shock. (I’m not making light of diabetes…. I know it’s a serious problem… I just love analogies).

It happens frequently throughout the day and I quite frankly, don’t know the right way to handle it. I’ve been reading books (I’ll share those with you later) but I’m starting to wonder if this is a phase or some permanent part of her character?!?!?

Like you and many parents out there, I often feel like I’m alone. Like I may have the only kid that is like this. Oh my gosh…. it’s like second puberty! “I’m alone…. nobody understands… no one has a life like this.”

We were pushing our shopping cart around Costco and (once again) something happened between her and her sister. I ignore it, because… parenting. It escalates. I step in with the inevitable threat of the removal of fun things that were promised… and here come the tears. The tears were quickly followed by sass, neck rolling, eye rolling and excessive self-defense.

I’m already tired from telling this story… because this scenario is exhausting. EXHAUSTING.

“But I didn’t DOOOOO anything!” “It was her! You always blame ME!”

Le sigh.

I stopped by the bread. I didn’t need any, I just needed to get past the beer and loafs of carbs are comforting to me.

I said, “you know how to make this right. You just don’t want to.”

Her face, with clenched jaw and unblinking eyes, clearly communicated that she was imagining what it would feel like to throat punch her mother and run away with Zac Efron to Hugh Jackman’s Circus and dye her hair pink.

I then asked her this, “if I told you to get in the car and drive to your friend’s house… how would you do it?”

Her: I can’t drive mom… I’m 9.

Me not able to hide my exasperation: yes but imagine you could. What’s the first thing you’d need to do?

Her: seat-belt? I don’t know.

Me: ok sure, but how do you make the car go?

Her: gas?

Me: ok yes, very important. But if there’s fuel in the car… what do you need?

It went on like this and was sufficiently disarming for her. She was searching for the “right”answer.

Me: the key. You need the key. If you knew everything about the car, combustion engine, what oil, serpentine belt, lights, breaks, accelerator, MPG, and you stood out in front of it and walked me around the car expertly laying down every single detail… would that help you get to your friend’s house?

Her: no.

Me: the key, the thing that starts the car… is I’M SORRY.

Nobody cares about what you know, or how things work and they won’t listen to you about it without the key. Baby, if you don’t have the key, you won’t go anywhere. Nothing in that car works without the key.

If you start with “I’m sorry” the rest falls into place. The key itself isn’t a remarkable thing really. Compared to the rest of the vehicle, the key is such a small thing… but if you were to lose the key… you can’t even open the door. No one will be able to hear the engine or your explanation, without that key.

My love… your heart is so big, and so powerful…. the world needs your heart! The world will never know your big heart like I do, if you never start the car.

Say you’re sorry. Let your child hear you say you’re sorry quickly and purposefully. Celebrate the apology. Because life is to short to never start the car.

Stumble on.

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