A Maverick Woman

A recent situation arose in our family, which immediately returned me to our New Jersey home some twenty-plus years ago. It was the time that Jamie misbehaved  and Dad retaliated by removing her toys from her room. She continued her unacceptable behavior and did not stop until Dad removed her desk chair. (“Not my chair,” she said followed by “I’ll be good. I’ll be good!”) See You’re in Trouble with a Capital “T.”

Now the culprit was the 2 ½ year old of the family, who was practicing the skills she had just learned in her new gymnastics class by repeatedly climbing over the gate at her bedroom door. Not one to always listen to commands, particularly when she believes her actions are somehow wildly hysterical and worth any possible punishment, she ignored the orders to stop. That is when her mommy decided to resurrect the not-my-chair punishment.

Being her own woman—a maverick—this did not work. I believe one of her parents had to snuggle with her until she drifted off to sleep.

That is not the end of the story. On her first day of school after this incident, she returned home with her own report of her morning in pre-school. She mentioned the snack of the day (cheesy crackers she told me) and the fact that she had gotten into trouble. Apparently, she was comfortable with her surroundings, and as she does when in any place where she feels at home, our little cutie removed her shoes. The rest of the class responded in kind by removing their shoes. The teachers were not pleased.

She is a leader—a strong woman. I look forward to what she becomes.



I’m Sorry and I Love You

As I sifted through the pile of letters written by the three of you through the years, I discovered several reoccurring themes—love and apology. It was heartwarming to see the notes you wrote to each other and to Dad and me expressing your feelings of love. We may not say it enough, but you certainly all knew how to put your feelings down on paper. Today, however, I am focusing on letters of apology from Jamie.

Some were clearly written by choice, while others were forms of punishment which I forced you to write. Some were brief, while others were quite involved. I suspect the length was related to the depth of your guilt. Most, not all, closed with love.

Jamie, at the age of eight, we received a note of apology for interrupting. Note the postscript.

Jamie Interrupting Letter-age 7

When you were ten, you wrote us a very short note, but the humor was in your very specific mention of timing.

Jamie-Sorr- age 12

Interrupting was clearly a problem because I found a lengthy letter written at a later date when I must have instructed you to invest more thought into your apology.

I am sorry for what I did. It is wrong cuz interrupting is mean cuz other people are talking and it is also wrong and *RUDE*! I will try to avoid doing this even though it’s a habit that just happens to be a not-so-good one. It is also mean to interrupt your friends but it’s like meaner to interrupt your parents cuz it is not being respectful.

You acknowledged the difficulty in making a promise you could not keep but vowed to try. We all interrupt. I know it’s rude and annoying and from the point of view of the “interruptee,” it makes them feel as if what they are saying is not important.

I will try my hardest to stop as best as I can cuz I know I’ll do it again some other time so I’m not going to make a promise I cannot keep. But I will promise to do it as unoften as possible and I will try not to do it anymore even though it will happen by mistake.

So to the three of you: I am sorry for interrupting you, not understanding you at times, and criticizing one of you for being a “pig” for the way you kept your room. I hope you have taken the lesson of being able to step up to the plate and apologize when you are wrong. It will keep your marriages, friendships, and family relationships from falling apart, but it is not always easy.

P.S. I love you.