The Challenge.

February 7th, 2011

It’s the end of the day. Lights are off, I head to bed.
There on my pillow is a note.
“you beeter be sorry or you wont get this” (an arrow points to a picture she had drawn, of herself)

We had had an argument earlier. Something about piano practice, science projects, hitting her brother, or setting the table for dinner. Insignificant to me now, everything to her then.
It didn’t end well, and this is her way of telling me.

We can get it so wrong, mother and child. Miss the mark, miss the meaning, overstep, over react, underestimate, under appreciate.

We tumble about until a note is written, left on a pillow for a mother to read with a smile and a tear. Her story, her 7-year-old voice, her view. On my pillow.
So I write one back. A letter she won’t yet understand.

“Yes, I am sorry.
Sorry for being bossy, impatient and stopping the fun. Sorry for not understanding, getting in the way and saying ‘no’ too many times. I’m sorry I have to be the adult even when I don’t want to be.
But I cannot be sorry for believing in you, asking your best and showing you new ways. Nor will I ever be sorry for loving you enough to say no.”

Unfortunately the difference is not always clear. A little “Tiger Mother” here, a little “Fluffy Mama” there. It’s more complicated than either of us want. So I sign the letter with a promise. A promise to know when to be sorry and when not to be. When to let things go, and when to push a little harder. I promise to act more in love and less in fear, and to always say the word sorry when I am.

I fold up her note, and sleep with it in my dreams. Dreams about a little girl learning, growing, and loved enough to challenge her mother to be all that she can be.

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  1. Margaret says:

    Beautiful in its honesty, truthfulness, humility and encouragement to grow. What a beautiful and creative daughter, and a humble and empowering mum. I love you both so much M

  2. annie says:

    Thank you for writing this.  I struggle daily (as I’m sure we all do) with this balance, and a beautiful reminder like this one softens my fear of getting it wrong enough to realize that there are some simple things I do get right, and they matter.  

  3.  sorry, in detail  can not nderstand・・・・・・ I think what people uderstand make their face joyful or sad, then you may understand happiness in your future life! thanks Regard!

  4. Ellen says:

    What if your daughter will only read the letter on Versace letterhead? Just kidding. Beautiful post.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this. It was so sweet!

  6. Diana Lewis says:

    Divine Intervention x

  7. Vickie Clock says:

    Meg,My 24 yr old daughter and I still struggle with this and now her boyfriend is in the mix with his own parent issues which are not good. Kellie told me his parents were “not good fighters” and would use screaming and yelling and even hands and fists to “fight”. “He didn’t grow up like I did, Mom,” she said. I realize now that indeed though it was sometimes a struggle being her Mom, and we would have little tiffs, she like your little girl, knows I love her no matter what and she is free to express her feelings without fear of violence. Being that cross between the softy and the hard-nose worked! No, thought no child wants to hear it, is a word that will like you said, teach them boundaries and self-control. Loving them enough to say NO- what a concept! Love it! Thank you for your words, as always.

  8. sarah waldin says:

    thanks Meg. I needed this one this week … it’s been a long, eventful :-) week of missing the mark, saying the wrong words and trying to remember that love is this thing of believing in them and saying NO – loving them enough to be the “baddy”