There was a time in my life that I wasn’t able to forgive, nor forget. I was filled with anger and pain. I acted out a lot. I’m not entirely sure how my mother survived it. Thinking back it must have taken her a lot of patience, and more importantly, forgiveness. This isn’t something I could ever truly understand until I myself was a mother. I didn’t think I was emotionally capable of forgiving others for what they had done, or myself for my own mistakes.
Specifically, I struggled with the inappropriate advances of my grandmother’s husband. There were instances such as him offering money to strip for him while my grandmother was at work, or trying to kiss me, or even just swatting at my behind as I walked by. Something that had gone on for a good deal of time on a regular basis (two years) before I finally spoke up and told my mother. At that time the information had gone no further, however later when I was about to become a mother myself, it came out to my entire family. It has since caused an irreparable rift between many members of my family. I had to come to peace with losing contact with members of my family that were key in my upbringing, such as my aunt and uncle. And while I harbor no ill feelings towards them, to a point it does still sadden me that I no longer have them in my life or in the lives of my children.
If it’s one thing my son has taught me, and taught me well, it’s how to forgive. When I’m having a bad day, and I yell, of course I feel terrible. My four-year-old son never fails to tell me “It’s okay, Mommy—I love you,” and gives me a much-needed hug. He has taught me the truest meaning of unconditional love, and with that, forgiveness.
Those six words have more than once brought me to tears. For every single mistake I have ever made, he tells me “It’s okay, Mommy—I love you.” Before he was born, I held onto a lot of pain from my past. I just couldn’t ever let it go, not really. In some ways, big and small, that pain had always affected me, hurt my heart, kept me angry, and unwilling to move on. I know they say forgiveness is about yourself and not those forgiven, but to know you’ve been forgiven, to know that all you really need to do is to forgive yourself for your own mistakes, there really is nothing more liberating.
I know that when I was a little girl, I was as forgiving as my son. We all were once with a child’s innocence. Somehow the older we get the more we seem to lose sight of the big picture; we forget what it is to forgive freely and easily. We make mistakes and are unable to forgive ourselves. We can always find forgiveness within ourselves, if we just try hard enough.
I think it’s time that we all learn a thing or two from our children. Let it go. Let go of the guilt, the anger, the sadness, the sorrow.
Because it’s okay, Mommy—they love you.
Terri Singer is a stay-at-home mother of two beautiful kids, she lives with her common law husband and her two fur babies (pit bull and a kitty), and loves her family fiercely. She survives on coffee and sarcasm and enjoys the hectic way of life she and her family have quite immensely. They tend to search for humour in every situation just to keep their sanity. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.
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