My little boy is sensitive. He is sandwiched between two sisters. His heart is big, generous and he’s an encourager by nature.
But I’ve noticed he says two things all the time.
First (and totally not his fault), he says “Omygosh” every time he’s excited, shocked, surprised, happy, mad….
In other words, he says it a lot. So does his Momma. And I’m working on that, really, I am. Especially since my two year old picked it up the other day. It sounds horrible coming from her puckered lips.
Slap my hand when you hear me say it, m’kay?
But the other phrase he uses often is “I’m sorry.”
In his sweet way, whenever he’s corrected or asked something, he tucks his head, looks down and says, “I’m sorry” first.
I decided I really needed to help him understand that “I am sorry” is an apology. It’s not what you say when you think you might be in trouble, or when you’re slow to make your bed or when you ask if you can stay up a few minutes to read.
I talked with him and explained that he didn’t have to be sorry for everything. I encouraged him to use those words only when he needed to apologize.
A few nights later, we worked in the yard after dinner. We came in hot and tired. I was ready for a bath after my kids had theirs. I was also ready for them to get to bed.
My son entered the kitchen and said, “Can I have a snack?”
“I guess,” I exhaled.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
I stopped him. “Why? Why are you sorry for asking for a snack? You’ve worked hard and you’re hungry?”
“I said I’m sorry because of the look on your face. You looked very sad when I asked you,” he confessed.
And that’s when it dawned on me. My little boy apologizes for me, not to me. My actions, the look on my face, my tone, made him feel like he had wronged me in some way.
I hugged his gangly body to mine and told him I was sorry. “I’m sorry for making you feel like you were doing something wrong. I’m tired, honey, and I’m ready to go to bed. It’s not you. It’s me.”
It’s in those little moments that I feel God’s finger pinpointing a place in my heart. An ugly spot that I need to work on.
My exasperation and moods affect my kids. My tone and impatient foot-tapping make them feel pressured and uncomfortable.
It was me all along.
And I’m sorry.