In later years, when I had become an adult with my own children, was married to a man that my mother viewed as very successful, I believe that my mother grew ashamed of her actions of having beat me and called me names–her form of punishment.
She observed me guiding and disciplining my and my husband’s children, two daughters with time-outs and putting their noses in corners. I also spoke to them about actions that were hurtful to their sibling sister and/or others.
I did not physically punish our children. This does not mean I have not lost my temper and said things I regretted even the moment of speaking the words.
When this happens I observe my rule of stepping up and apologizing, saying, “I am sorry. I was wrong. Will you forgive me?”
I believe it is important to apologize to our children for hurtful actions as soon as possible after we realize our wrongdoing. I also believe it is most important that we do this without an audience.
Oprah moments of confession are nice for increasing viewership rating for your television talk show. They do not work as well when trying to create and maintain honesty and integrity with your children regarding you, their parent and your actions.
One time when I was pregnant with our second child and daughter who is now twenty-one years old, I called my mother crying and upset. Hormones raging, I was depressed.
The pregnancies and the times following my deliveries of our two older children and daughters unearthed and revealed wounded areas created and left by the experiences of physical and verbal abuse from my mother.
Life was forcing me, as I moved into the farther regions of being a mother, to review my history as a child and daughter under my mother’s care, the emotional wounds that remained.
The salt and vinegar of life, like the potato chips I so love, and that I, a diabetic should not eat, delivered much wisdom and consolation.
The vulnerabilities exhumed and unearthed made me soft and left me malleable. I could and would learn from the injuries left by my mother’s actions, ever how well intended.
“Am I a good person?” I asked my mother, tears covering my face and cheeks. I was speaking through the telephone to her back in North Carolina nearly three thousand miles from me in California.
“Yes,” she said. “You’re a good person and an excellent mother.”
I would like to think this was her way of saying, “And I could have been better. I am sorry.”
Tags: and Being a Good Person ..., apologies, California, corporal punishment, Dagny Gromer, daughter, depression, diabetes, emotional wound, Full Moon Behind Leafless Tree, mother, North Carolina, Of Raging Hormones, Oprah moments, physical abuse, salt and vinegar potato chips, television ratings, temper, verbal abuse, viewership, wisdom