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Admitting You're Wrong to a Six-Year-Old

September 19, 2006

Admitting you're wrong isn't easy, especially when you have to admit it to your six-year-old.

 

Where did you lose it?" I yelled. I was clearly losing it. "You must have taken it out of your bag. Tell Mommy what you did with it!"

 

Mommy, I didn't touch it. I just know when I went to take it out of my folder, it wasn't there," she pleaded tears welling up in her big brown eyes.

 

"Well, I put it there. Did it just disappear?" I said with hands on my hips and a caffeine headache the size of Texas.

 

"I don't know," she said, crocodile tears now rolling down her flushed cheeks.

 

She had an envelope in her backpack full of donations from her grandparents for a school fundraiser. She was very proud of raising the money because it meant that her class might win a prize, but when she got to school, she said the envelope was gone.

 

I assumed she dropped it, either on the school bus or in her classroom, but she swears she never saw it. I didn't believe her.

 

In my defense (if there is one in this situation), I was operating on about four hours of sleep after covering a fatal car accident into the wee hours of the morning.

 

But still, I was wrong.

 

After calling and e-mailing the school, I finally learned from her teacher that an assistant had taken the envelope out of my daughter's folder and handed it in to the office without the teacher's knowledge.

 

"Mommy is very sorry. I was wrong," I told her on the phone from my office.

 

"Okay," she said quietly, sounding much younger than her six years over the telephone.

 

"Do you forgive me?" I asked with sincerity.

 

"I guess," she said with hesitation.  The sadness in her voice makes my heart constrict.

 

"Well, I love you. I hope you will forgive me at some point," I said, meaning it more than I mean it when I apologize to anyone else.

 

It's the best I can do. She might as well know now that Mommy is full of flaws. This isn't the last time she will get to see them hanging out in all of their glory.

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