Humble Pie: Feeling Sorry and Being Sorry Are Two Different Things.

My blog post title has changed five times, and it has taken me three weeks to write this confession. I am moving past feeling sorry for my actions and words, and trying to find a way to BE sorry, or show my desire to amend damage I may have caused in relationships with friends and family over the years.
[sor-ee, sawr-ee]

1.feeling regret, compunction, sympathy, pity, etc.:
to be sorry to leave one's friends; to be sorry for a remark; to be sorry for someone in trouble.;dismal.

I have a problem. I'm weird and anti-social in my personal time. Too often I say things without intending harm but am misunderstood. Or I say nothing and leave people wondering.  Other times, I blurt things out.  Without weighing the damage those words may cause, or the fall out I may face. I don't think I'm a terrible person, I devote my life to working/volunteering for a charity and am an early childhood advocate, loving wife and mom. I just have a know it all attitude that is squished for 40 hours a week to keep the peace at work.  Sometimes my mouth runs away with me and says the wrong thing at the wrong time, to the wrong person.  Like the day a lady asked me for directions as I was walking down the street towards work and happened to ask me about my thoughts on the state of downtown development in the city, and I gave her my very honest answer, not complimentary to say the least.  Hey, I was on my lunch break, on a stress filled day, and a stranger invited the exchange. That lady turned out to be our Mayor. I found this information out when she came to a fundraiser at my workplace. She recognized me, and was gracious. I burned with embarrassment. Some of the things I said about our downtown were true, but the attitude in which they were said were not kind.  I have burned many bridges with my fire breath. And have a hard time saying sorry. I tend to just slink away instead.

"If you don't have anything nice to say..."

Fast forward fifteen years. I still work for this charity, but in a different role, with many more responsibilities. I'm busier than ever as a working mom.  I try to be involved in my daughters school life, but don't consider myself a helicopter parent or whatever the term for hovering happens to be now.  My one frustration with her previous school season (2015-16) is not meeting her teacher. With Durham Region still rebounding from the teacher strike in the Fall of 2015, there were no school events, open houses, parent & teacher meetings, etc. There was a Breakfast with Santa run by volunteers in December and a Holiday Concert, I went to both of these events, and brought a teachers gift.  Mrs. Z was not there either time.  She didn't attend the class trip in the Fall or Spring. And didn't attend the Spring Concert. I purchased a yearbook, and she wasn't in it either. By the end of the school year I was more than a little irritated. I had no real concerns with my daughter's education or progress, so no real reason to call or bother her teacher. Teaching is hard work, and I understand how much energy goes into this career. But I had to shake my head and wonder, "Who the heck does she think she is? Does she think she doesn't need to attend any school event, ever?" I wanted to put a face and voice to the person who had been passing hurried notes back and forth at random times in the school year, and I was not always kind when ever someone asked about my daughters school, or teacher because I resented the absence.  School finished and that was the end of that chapter, or so I thought.

Two weeks into Summer vacation, we travelled to a park that is an hour away from home because we really like its splash pad. Our first stop was the changeroom/bathroom. My six year old shouts, "Mom, that's Mrs Z over there!"  I said, "Who?"  Six year old, "My TEACHER!"  I said, "That's nice. Lets Go."  We ended up crossing path's later since Mrs Z made a point of coming over to say hi.  I was cold. Not going to lie. I had no relationship with her and the year was done, I just wanted to chill and have family time, not confront her about skipping every event in the school calendar.  I tried to be polite while we made small talk, "Isn't it funny to meet up in a park so far from home, to finally put a face to the famous Mrs Z that my girl talks about every day?" We went separate ways after a minute or two. We met up again on the way out of the park and Mrs Z's family was with her this time.  I won't give specific details, but I was knocked silent by what I observed. Even as I type this, I feel a bowling ball of conviction in the pit of my stomach. She is a teacher, a mom, and wife.  The reason why she was never present at events was probably because she has a very close family member with physical challenges, and likely needs constant care.   My daughter had a few questions about what we observed, I answered them as best as I could, and told her it was not very nice of me to talk about her teachers absence from events because she seems to have a very good reason to excuse herself.  Silently I cried for shame on the hour drive home. We ate lunch, and I could hardly swallow for the shame and remorse I was feeling at my terrible attitude.

Anyone reading this may think I am a little nuts. I don't think I expressed exactly how much this chance meeting affected me.  I was brought low, and for good reason. Call it Karma, or pay back. I don't believe in coincidences. We were meant to run into Mrs Z. even though we were running an hour late in our schedule and far from home. I was meant to meet her family and get the Karma slap in the face as a warning to smarten up, and be a better example of kindness and compassion for my daughter.


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