About a week after I left a message on a good friend and busy working mother's answering machine, she called me back with this: "I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you! I've been so busy it feels like I'm always saying I'm sorry. I'm sick of saying, I'm sorry. Sorry I forgot the lunch, sorry I was late for the meeting, sorry I didn't get it done. Sorry."
That resonated with this busy working mama (thanks again for Tuesday 12-1 CST you energy-sending intelligentsia, you) who thought the comment precisely captured the chaos and guilt that is contemporary maternity.
I'm sorry I haven't been commenting on your blog. I miss you! Once the grades and interview are history, I will be back.
I'm sorry, Scarlett, that you wanted to play at Madison's house but I called Ellie. I wasn't listening very closely because Merrick was naked on the floor screaming and I was trying to find that new Stephen King book Stryker lost.
Stryker, I'm sorry that you're reading adult books without parental screening: your Mama doesn't have time to read each one first. She understands you will one day stumble across a wholly inappropriate and potentially damaging scene of sex, violence, despair or degradation and be duly altered (as she was).
I'm sorry I went to bed before the movie was over last night, sweetie.
I'm sorry! That sweatshirt is in the laundry and I haven't gathered the courage to walk into the basement this week.
I'm sorry, but you can't have a cell phone. I know everyone else in the play has one, even the little kids. Think of yourself as a trend setter. Rebel?
I'm sorry this hurts your feelings but I can't help it. He is Satan's Familiar and I hate him.
Oh no! Merrick, I am so sorry! I didn't even see you there. Is it bleeding?
I'm sorry I haven't called in a few days, Mom.
I'm sorry! I forgot to call you back about that grant proposal.
I'm sorry, I can't be President of Parkway Little League because I actually know nothing about baseball - on top of all the other reasons.
Sorry it took me so long to return your book -- and about the new coffee stains on the cover.
I'm sorry that I can't sew a costume for your presentation at school. We have a needle and spool of thread somewhere in the house but these are power tools and they scare me.
I'm sorry I forgot to thaw the meat, forgot Scott's birthday, forgot to pick up the library book on reserve.
Sorry, but I can't get to that revision until Wednesday.
I'm sorry I came to the appointment without the paperwork already filled out.
I'm sorry that we missed the first class! I wrote down the wrong date.
I'm sorry, but no, there will be no locking the bedroom door for some afternoon delight to the soundtrack of "MOM WHERE ARE YOU?" Not today. Probably not this semester. Or year. Or ever.
I'm sorry, but I cannot read that book out loud again. Not ever.
I'm very sorry I experimented with my remaining Xanax as part of preparation for Tuesday's job interview. My deep desire for a nap leads me to believe that 2 pills is overkill. On the other hand, I am pleasantly unconcerned about that recent sound of glass breaking.
I'm sorry I can't continue the list, but it's back to work because I'm already feeling sorry about the slim commentary my students may receive on their papers this week!
Now that I've shaken that out of my system, I am going to focus on apologizing less and telling all my dear Mama friends in the real world and this one, that there is no need to say: I'm sorry.
We're doing the best we can!