In my previous life I was a teacher. I spent almost 10 years of my pre-Mom life teaching early childhood and first grade. My life was touched by wonderful students and families many of whom are still a part of my life. I gained lifelong friendships from those I taught beside. For the most part, it was a wonderful time, and I will humbly say that I was a good teacher. I worked hard, cared a lot, and tried to be as fair and compassionate as possible. I would also humbly admit that most of the parents whose children I had the honor of teaching would agree with that statement.
However, one mother and I had an especially challenging relationship during the time I taught her child. Looking back on it, I know I was trying my best and she was trying her best, but we were not ever able to reach any sort of peaceful solution. There were several conversations that would leave me sobbing when we got off the phone. Now, as a mother, I am convinced it was no different on her side. By the time the end of the year approached, she could barely look at me.
That relationship has haunted me ever since. It broke my heart to know she was suffering due to things I had or had not done. I had tried my best, but in this situation, it wasn’t good enough. That broke my heart too. Once I became a mom, I developed an even deeper sense of empathy for this particular mother. I remember walking into my OB’s office 6 weeks after I had M. I had taught both of her children, and the first words out of my mouth were “I’m sorry for anything I ever did or said before I became a mother!” Motherhood lifts a veil on things you didn’t realize you could see differently. It changes you. I know it changed me. I thought about this mom so often. I thought about her heartache and her pain. I thought about the things I didn’t do and the things that I did, all with the best of intentions. All of that got really heavy, and I couldn’t carry that around anymore. So I did something that felt really really brave. I sent her an email, and I told her I was sorry.
I held my breath, and then I hit “send.” I haven’t felt that vulnerable in a long time, and if I am being honest, it was scary. Her response came after only a few hours. It was full of compassion, of grace, of forgiveness. She welcomed my openness and agreed it had been a difficult year. She even apologized too. She ended the email by congratulating me on my family, and wishing us all the best. And there I had it: peace.
As mothers, we are so good at forgiving our children. We love them unconditionally, and we forgive all. day. long. It’s so important that we forgive each other as well. We are bonded together by the incredible honor of being mothers. It’s a sisterhood like no other. And we need each other. We need each other’s compassion, grace, and forgiveness. I’m so grateful to this particular mother for sharing those things with me, and I hope she feels the same way. It’s never to late to ask for grace, and it’s never too late to share it.
Find the joy~