“He punched me,” she sobbed as big choking breaths shook her little body.
“What? Buddy, what happened?” I asked turning to face my sheepish son. As I sat listening to both sides of the story about wanting the same silly toy I found myself both frustrated and fearful about this first brush with true trouble. Sure, the kids bicker and fight at home, but somehow it never really seemed as real as having someone else’s child in tears because of mine. As she spoke, I was him. He knew he’d made a poor choice. He was sorry too. I could read that in his posture and feel it in his hesitation.
I’d reminded him several times that he needed to apologize. Whispering reminders about eye contact and speaking clearly along with the words he should say. “Look in her eyes, and tell her ‘I’m sorry Chelsea for hitting you in the face,” I offered.
With as many of the facts as I could gather, I let a visibly contented little lady return to playing with the understanding that when he was ready to offer up true words of apology, we’d like to have her come back.
Then we sat…waiting.
He climbed onto the couch next to me, his tears having subsided now as well. I prompted him again.
“I’m not ready yet,” he said tersely.
We waited a bit longer. I asked a few more times, but he never took me up on it.
Then, he finally said he was ready. As I watched him follow all the cues I’d given despite his lack of acknowledgement, I found my feelings of frustration and fear give way. Seeing his splotchy cheeks and quivering lips which made his lisp more pronounced as he apologized, I realized that this moment would be one I’d never forget.
Tonight, I’m thankful for this moment. This moment that proves when it comes down to it, I can keep my calm, and he is an amazing little man!