Apologies Before Pride
Sing along..."Don't push me cause I'm close to the edge. I'm trying not to lose my head."- the official anthem when someone has perched on your last good nerve. Perhaps that person is the assassin of the nerves already dead and gone, or maybe that person is the innocent victim who just so happen to stumble on the last nerve. Either way, what comes next is a lethal explosion of emotion. Days or even just moments later when you realize that you have gone too far, pride won't let you apologize because any acknowledgement of wrong doing seemingly negates the other parties' accountability. And the other person MUST understand never to say or do that thing ever, Ever, EVER again. I fell down that slippery slope a few months ago.
Recently, I wrote a 'tell-all', 'straight-no-chaser', 'and what?" blog about my mother-in-law- 'You Can't Choose Your Mother or Mother-in-Law'. When my mother-in-law read it, she was not too happy about what I had to say. In my opinion, this is my blog, there were no lies and if she didn't like it being said then she shouldn't act in a way that she is embarrassed to share. Besides I had recently witnessed her say hurtful things to my wife. Surely a mother who is so blatantly thoughtless of her daughter's feelings would not be bothered if I write this blog? But just in case, as I do with all other blogs, I asked my wife to read it and give her approval before I posted. I guess I should have considered that my wife held unresolved resentment towards her mother, because without hesitation she said, 'Go for it!" And before I knew it, it was my most viewed blog. Her family was up in arms, and her mother was sending me text messages.
You Can't Choose Your Mother or Mother-in-Law
- You Can't Choose Your Mother or Mother-in-Law
After ten years, my mother-in-law and I are still like oil and water. This blog is all about my struggles with trying to find a way to make it work for the well being of my wife.
I didn't respond to the text, and never bothered to call. However, something told me to apologize. Talk to her. Make amends for my own mistake. Sure my wife spoke with her, but I was an adult needing to mend my own fences. She needed to hear that I meant every word I wrote. She had been awfully cold to me for ten years. She had blamed me for choices her daughter made. She had destroyed the olive branch she and I had thrown out just a few months earlier when she decided to make comments about my role in her grandson's life. She needed to hear that I meant to say it...but I didn't mean for it to hurt. And I said just that when we talked a few days ago. I can only speak for myself, but I was completely honest. I told her how she hurt me, listened to how I hurt her, apologized and even laughed a little. When we got off the line, it was evident that we may never be friends; but, for the gift of life she has given my wife, she will always hold a special place in my heart. I walked away understanding that liking her was not half as important as loving her. And somehow, this epiphany is making this holiday season more meaningful for me. For several years now I have thoughtfully chosen holiday gifts for my mother-in-law to gift her something meaningful from me that gave her joy when I couldn't. And when I chose her gift just yesterday, I felt a childlike excitement. She still may never know that I studied her so extensively just to make her smile, but again love is greater than like.
Ultimately, that blog taught me the power of my blog. By writing something so personal about people who mean so much to me, I have the power to repair or destroy, hurt or heal relationships. Since that blog, I try to be more uplifting, positive, but still be real. I think now before I write, 'Am I just telling a story or offering some greater lesson about life?' As an English teacher, I ask myself, "What's the theme?
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