an apology

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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.”

Preschool apology note

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.



  1. NIcely written. It indeed is amazing how you can put up small things from your life on this wonderful blog. It though is a very small incident but teaches us a lot… the most important, in addition to the importance of being apologetic when we err, being the necessity to be soft and nice with our kids and at the same time impart them the necessary lessons of life so that they become good human beings in future.

  2. good for you for a) knowing your child and b) instilling good manners. the “not my child” mothers flip me out.. the ones who can’t fathom that their child could do something wrong or unbecoming. as unsavory (but entirely age appropriate.. kids do this stuff) as it might feel to know that the boogie-wiping might have been your child, it already shows what kind of mom you are that you know it might have been Abigail’s MO. And, yes, it will be a great story/post to share with her one day!

  3. 1. This person is not your friend, she’s a frenemy. 2. Your kids def. need that year of Kindergarten :)

    1. I was thinking the same thing, Ilana. Sounds very passive-aggressive of the ‘friend’. This was handled perfectly with Abigail. I’ll bet she’ll think twice before behaving that way in the future AND she knows that she can tell mom about anything and still be loved. Good parenting is a beautiful thing.

  4. I thought the same thing as the other two ladies who commented. Knowing you would see it, I wouldn’t put something like that on FB. Yeah, I guess it’s funny, but the “No worries, we scrubbed away!” was totally passive-aggressive. Scrubbed away? It’s not like Abagail was going to give her kid HIV with her boogies and saliva. I’m no doctor, but I’m not even sure the kid could get a cold from that being on her arm for the probable 30 seconds it was there. She didn’t make her eat them. Nice job on your part but this mom sounds like a real pain in the ass.

  5. My son often picks his nose then pretends to help you wipe something off your face and wipes his bogey on you. You usually remain completely oblivious until some nice grown up informs you of the offending item, which they obviously think is yours from some serious nose picking.

  6. Poor Lea. She can wipe away the booglies, but she’s stuck with that sort of mom. The myriad lessons she’s learning by such a poor example of a grown up is sad to contemplate.

  7. Surely the mom could have brought it up with you rather than Facebooking it?

    You and Abigail handled the situation perfectly. Kudo’s to you both.

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