One of my friends in Boca had a Facebook status update that went a little somethin’ like this:
“Lea comes home and tells me another kid put a booger and saliva on her arm today but don’t worry she wiped it off with a paper towel! Can you say bleach! Ewwww”
I read this in my room and couldn’t keep from hopping up, off to the playroom to consult with one of Lea’s classmates: Abigail. It was just a gut instinct KNOW.
“Abigail,” I say, “do you happen to know if anyone wiped boogers and saliva on Lea’s arm today?” I could tell by her face the answer was yes. But her mouth wasn’t as quick to the cut.
“What, like did you get a note sent home or something?” Her hand had been on her hip but slid down as she spoke, leaving her looking down into the confused finger web she was about to weave.
“Abigail, did you do that to Lea? You can always tell Mama the truth; you know that right?”
“Yes,” she whined.
“Yes, to which part? Yes, you know you can tell me anything or yes, you were the one to wipe boogies and saliva on Lea?”
“Both,” she said in a low voice. I crouched beside her and asked if she’d like me to wipe my boogies and saliva on her. It was a risky question because depending on the day, these kids might think gross.. but also awesome. There was a possibility that she’d respond, “Yes, may I pick which arm?”
Thankfully, she admitted that she wouldn’t like it, that she was just trying to be funny. That she was only playing. I mentioned germs and hands to ourselves without mentioning lady-like behavior because that term sucks and pigeonholes girls. “So what are you going to do about this, Miss?”
“I won’t do it again.”
Great, but how does your friend Lea know that?
“I can call her or write her a letter to tell her I’m sorry.”
“I think that’s a wonderful idea. Saying sorry isn’t always easy for people to do, but we all make mistakes, every one of us. The best thing you can do is admit what you did wrong, so you can learn from it.” I set her up with her notebook and pencil at the kitchen table, watching as she sounded out her words. “You’re doing a really good thing by being aware of your behavior and working to be better behaved and also by letting someone else know that you care about how they feel. I’m proud of this Abigail. Not of bad manners but for apologizing the way you are. You’re a good egg.”
“Mama, I’m not an egg. I mean seriously.”
Our talk had me thinking about apologies, how I used to believe they were really only good for those doing the apologizing. To be on the receiving end, they can be “just words.” But if you do it right, from your heart, where you truly show how much you wish you could take it back, they have got to know it’s way more than words because they can see the weight of it on you. We should all take that lesson from the sandbox. Be quick to apologize and mean it.
In response to my friend’s status update, I replied: “OMG, I just asked Abigail if it was her, and she said, ‘What did you get a note home or something?’ Yes, dear. It’s called Facebook. Bleach is right. Sorry!”
Friend: “LMAO!! I was not going to give names or say anything ever! Just thought was quite the story. I’m cracking up. No worries, we scrubbed away! :)”
So when the day comes that Abigail can’t believe I posted the contents of this precious apology, I won’t be offering up a sorry. Because this right here is the good stuff.