|So many people not sorry, |
they have their own t-shirt.
Mostly my insanity of that inane phrase is derived from the fact I am, in fact, apologetic about everything. I feel guilt for everything. I was probably the only little kid turning themselves into their parents for doing something possibly naughty. 11th grade: I ditched (literally) half of the year, turned myself into the Vice Principal. He told me to go home & relax. WHAT?!
I find myself apologizing for global warming (even though I don't buy into it...but that's another blog), the Lindenburg baby- all my fault, ISIS- totally on me. Crap, I'm pretty sure why the US didn't win more medals in the last Olympics- my bad. Get the drift? I feel bad for everyone, about everything. I apologize A LOT (friends can verify).
So here's my conundrum: I'm raising my niece, I refer to her as my daughter. She calls me Tia. She has contact and is beginning a relationship with her biological mom (my sister). We refer to my sister as "Your Mom." And here comes the I'm sorry part.
I am constantly explaining myself, my relationship, and apologizing for the situation. Quick example: My sister promised my daughter she would buy an expensive pair of boots. I took my daughter to the mall to try them on. They fit, shouts of joy all around. But then the awkward but typical conversation:
The sales lady then turned to me and asked, "May I ring these up for you?"
"No thank you," I replied, "her mother will be buying them."
"Oh, that's nice you have a wife to support you!" she states, a little overenthusiastic.
"No- actually her mother is my sister. This is my niece. I'm raising her. Sorry for the confusion."
"Oh, so you're a single mom?" she states with a lamented tone.
"Well, yes. But we'll be taking those Vans. Hahaha." Painful smile coming from me because I face this situation all too frequently.
I think part of my frustration comes from my own mind (fear, assumptions), and part of it comes from the ultra conservative culture of the state I live in (Utah).
For me, there are days I feel I will never be enough of a mother. My daughter has overcome a lot of things from her childhood, and continues to work to overcome still more. I do what I can to foster her love of the world, to teach her to be happy, to make sure she knows she is loved by me- and by her biological mother. But, I think as with all parents, there are days of feeling inadequate. We love our kids SO freaking much and want them to HAVE JOY. And do their homework, and not be slobs, and have fun...the list goes on. So perhaps the biggest lie of "Sorry" is I'm not sorry that I get to be a part of this amazing young woman's life. I need to have more faith the Lord has set things on a course which He has prepared and I need to have the faith to follow.
The cultural frustration of apology is absolutely culturally driven by locals (although it has improved over the years). Being a practicing Latterday Saint (LDS, or Mormom), I do attend church and activities. There are times I feel stigma because I am a.) single and b.) a parent c.) a single parent. People can be quick to judge without knowing circumstances. When people first met me and my daughter, without knowing the background, I got a lot of, "Oh...so is the dad in the picture?" and "So its just the 2 of you then?"
I know people do not mean harm, but when you get these prying questions frequently, and then sit through lessons about how a family should have a strong mother and father...a lot of guilt gets added to my shoulders. Again- I blame this on myself. I am prone to take things internally, and not verbalize how much they hurt or bother me. I know not every remark is a dagger meant for me. That is just ridiculous, and funny if you think about it in a literal sense.
So on this, the eve of starting a new Ward (or in LDS speak- going to a new church location, but same religion), I am making a promise to myself to not apologize. I will introduce Chloe as my daughter, and that is sufficient. Frankly, my life is my business, but I need to be less tender to the perceptions of others. Which is going to be really tough for me. :) In closing, sorry not sorry.