Taking a small break from summer camp to get some thoughts out about two recent moments. And yes, they involve apologies. I would love your thoughts on the act of offering an apology and the act of accepting it. I usually find it very easy to forgive. I do sometimes suck at forgetting and am sometimes a jerk and will bring offending acts back up. But I find it very, very easy to tell someone I am sorry as soon as I realize that I am in the wrong. Not being given forgiveness is hard.

{But first, how are you guys enjoying summer camp? Some days it is super refreshing for me to dive in, and some days it’s a struggle, but I am always glad to have had the prompt. I do miss having some sort of interacting part to it – it feels like I am in summer camp alone in my own little cabin. Maybe next summer we can come up with a more vibrant and nonstatic camp experience in the blog world…}

A few weeks ago I drove us to the neighborhood playground that is my favorite. It would be walkable but with the heat it really isn’t. Also when we drive to the playground we tell Lolly to take the train home and we pick her up from the train station instead of her having to take the local bus home. It’s a win-win because oh I am sure you can imagine who adores hanging out at the train station waiting for his Lolly’s train!

Parking near this park involves parallel parking on a neighborhood street that is super curvy. It is a challenge to avoid blocking a driveway. You might have guessed where this is going now. Yup. When I parked a few weeks ago the front of my car went over someone’s driveway. I only checked my wheels (brilliant) and not the real front expanse of the car – so while my wheels were in the clear a good couple of inches of hood were hanging over. I had no idea.

When it was time for W and I to leave the playground we returned to a sticky note on the driver’s side window of the car. It said, “Your terrible parking job ruined my night. Thanks to you I couldn’t get into my driveway easily. Do it better next time or I will call the cops.”

My reaction? I burst into tears. Crap I am crying now just reliving the moment. Because wow.

I carried the weight of the bad parking job for the rest of the day, for the rest of the week, and the following week we returned to the park. I avoided parking in front of the note giving house but as I had to walk past it to get to the park. As W and I trotted on the sidewalk I glanced over and flushed when I saw someone working in the yard of The House.

I stopped. And I cleared my throat. And I said, “Excuse me – I just wanted to apologize for my horrible parking job last week. I felt awful all week and I am so very sorry.”

The guy looked at me like I was nuts. So I explained, “I parked a bit over the entrance to your driveway? You left a note on my car?” Realization hit him then. “Oh that was my wife. No Worries.” And he shrugged and waved a little wave at W.

But there were worries. I know it is incredibly selfish of me to want my apology to be heard, and not just heard but accepted. Because my apology essentially turned into vapors it doesn’t feel like it ever happened. It feels unfinished.

This weekend I was incredibly rude to a woman at a movie theatre for no reason other than I was hot and cranky. There was really no excuse for it – I just was snappy from the get go. As Mother and W and I waited for the movie to begin I started to feel physically ill. Mom confirmed that yes, I was rude. There was still time before the movie so I collected my nerves and went out to the lobby and found the woman. I told her that I wanted to apologize for my behavior. I told her that I felt awful and that I was sorry.

She didn’t even look me in the eyes, and said, “don’t worry about it” as she walked away. Clearly my apology was not truly accepted.

And I know that I will probably carry the shame of my behavior at the movies for a long time. It is very hard to ask forgiveness, but I have to realize that it is a request and not something I can demand of someone. Apologies don’t make moments vanish.

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