Monday, November 23, 2009

When Mommies Make Mistakes

Things could be worse. Suppose your errors were counted and published every day, like those of a baseball player. ~Author Unknown

I thought I was having a really great Mommy weekend. I managed to spend individual one-on-one time with each of my children. My 3-year-old and I planted some bulbs. I took my 8- and 10-year olds on separate library trips. I played a full-court, no-foul, no-boundaries, no-time-outs, one-on-one basketball game with my twelve-year-old and let her beat me 22-0. We all went out to Friendly’s for dinner and ice cream.

Sunday night I took my two older girls out to buy Thanksgiving outfits. We aren’t big clothes hogs in this house, but for special holidays I like to make sure everyone has something beautiful to wear. They each picked out something gorgeous and I was trying on a flattering red blouse with scarf.

“Maybe I’ll wear this to my son’s Thanksgiving play,” I thought to myself, “When is that again? Friday? Wait, we have off this Friday, which…OMG…OMG…OMG…”

I got home and ran to my son before my daughters could open their big mouths. He was playing Battleship with my husband. “Did you already have your Thanksgiving play?” I burst out. “Yeah,” he said, nonchalantly. The look of horror on my face told all to my husband. I ran upstairs to have a good cry.

I pride myself on keeping our complicated schedules in order. I have my little book in my pocketbook, which gets written on a large dry erase calendar in the laundry room. Around that are corkboards where the important flyers hang. But something went wrong with my system in this one particular case, and I was never going get back the chance to attend my son’s Thanksgiving play.

I emailed an apology to the teacher, asking if she knew of any parents who had videotaped the play. She wrote me back a nice note saying not to beat myself up over it and gave me a name. I emailed the person, who sent me a nice picture and promised to copy the video for me. So I will eventually get the chance to sit and watch the play with my son. In the meantime, I will be taking him out for lots and lots of ice cream.

I woke up still feeling bad, and was glad to find this quote by Henry David Thoreau : “One cannot too soon forget his errors and misdemeanors; for to dwell upon them is to add to the offense.”

I also liked Sophia Loren’s “Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.” And how about F. Wikzek’s “If you don't make mistakes, you're not working on hard enough problems. And that's a big mistake.”

I was thinking that I couldn’t go on writing this blog when I couldn’t do something really basic like attend a school play. Then I read Niels Bohr’s quote, “An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field.”

And finally, from Alexander Pope, in Swift, Miscellanies, “A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying... that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.”

We are responsible for so much as mothers, and when we mess up the best thing to do is say “I’m sorry”, take a look at our priority list, and move forward.


Barb, sfo said...

We've all done it--so I know how horrible it feels! I'm glad your son wasn't too broken up over it. That would have been so much worse. Hope you'll get to enjoy the video together. That might even be more fun than the play as you'll get his "behind the scenes" perspective as you watch!

Karen said...

I think missing something like that ranks up there with my biggest fears as a mommy. Spent all of last school year forgetting everything I needed to send in for my younger daughter for school functions. Fortunately, I never forgot to attend the events. I've got a calendar that has a space for each person in the house so I can look at any given day and see who is doing what. It works great provided I write the important info on the calendar and look at it frequently to stay on top of what is coming up soon.
I'm sorry you missed your son's play. I hope you get to see the video.

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

Important update: Good Mommy emails Bad Mommy and says she will copy the DVD for her, sends nice class picture, Bad Mommy feels redeemed.

Loren Christie said...

I'd lose my head if it were not attached to my body. I know that saying was invented because of me. :) You are an excellent Mommy, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

LYLAS Loren!