I feel most bad about the buts.
I see a lot of butts. I have seen a lot of butts too. Not in drunken frenzies, the butts I have seen are the ones I have paddled, swaddled, cleaned, and covered in powders, balms, and prescription ointments.
I don’t have exaggerated feelings about those butts, it is the buts I have said, the ones that stole from my apologies and negotiated my love.
That stops now.
The fact is, I am most convinced that but is a detriment to my motherhood and the words that I add a but to are robbing my children of my most genuine devotions.
Hard to Say I’m Sorry
I must start with the apologies. The good ones would never have a but in them. Yes, love protects, and it refines, but a good apology never includes a “but.”
“I am sorry that you…”
“I am sorry but…”
“You can’t have the car on Saturday because you were not honest with me. I am sorry, I know you are disappointed. I am grieving with you for that loss.”
Truly, this maybe lost on a disgruntled 17-year-old, however, I want to make it known that I am nothing, if not genuine.
This vocation of motherhood, with its terrible retirement plan, no 401K and the departure of these humans that will go and create a life of their own, is the very best and the very worst. What mad Creator came up with this? Love this being as if they are your breath and then they will outgrow you.
Let it be said of me, I was able to be sorry and mean it.
And of my love, let it have been worn on my sleeve. Let me have love without negotiation or pretense. “I love you.” That is all there is to it.
In my past, although I may not have meant the way it sounded, I added conditions to my declarations and for this I am most sorry. “I love you but, you should not have….” Or “I love you, but you keep…”
No, I just love you.
Furthermore, I offer myself this grace. I didn’t realize that was what I was doing. I am most convinced in a world full of slang and media, my words have become most “trendy.” Certainly, I use “totally” about my commitment to a new mascara or a slice of pie. But the totality of me is hardly best described by what I have said or failed to.
I feel bad that I may have given sorry sorries.
I wish that I had never led any one of my children to believe my love was to be negotiated or established on a behavior-based scale. But! I have recognized my folly. I have come to terms with my journey as mother. And I fully embrace the weight of my words and the depth of their impact.
There will be reasons I must discipline. And with those heavy responsibilities there will be room for the sorrow that accompanies them. Still, I will apologize without excuse or ego.
I love you, but I am too tired...
I am sorry, but I had a bad day...
I love you, but I am sick and tired....
I am sorry, but you cannot...
I love you. I am tired.
I am sorry. Today was really hard.
I love you. In fact, I love you too much for things to continue like this...
I am sorry. You are not allowed to....
The pureness of my declarations is all I have some days.
I am a creature that maternally nurtures. Within the confines of that most precious emotion, I will not let it be perceived as earned or passable.
I am not sorry to have learned this lesson a little late, it in no way was a true reflection of how well I love.
There are no buts about that.
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