I was tickling my youngest daughter, Macie, on the couch. Boy was she giggling! She was loving it just like both of my girls do. For some reason, for them, tickling is REALLY fun. Not for me, but they love it!
Sari heard the laughter and wanted to get in on the fun. She climbed over the arm of the couch on to the back because she was going to climb on to my shoulders (also something the girls love).
In the process of getting over the couch to my shoulders, Sari stepped right on Macie’s face.
Instantly, Macie went from hilarious laughter to uncontrolled sobbing. I was frustrated. Here I was, having fun with Macie and Sari ruins it by stepping on her face. Now Sari didn’t mean to step on her sister’s face. It was an accident, but I was so frustrated that I yelled at Sari. I shouldn’t have, but I thought someone should get in trouble for this. Sari ran crying to her room and my wife gave me the look. She took Macie and consoled her for a second and then went into the girls’ room.
There’s nothing quite like being an authoritative, yelling parent and sitting by yourself.
I knew I had messed up, I just didn’t want to admit it.
I’m so prideful that way. I knew I should go apologize to sari and try to reconcile with her regarding what I had obviously done wrong. But I’m so stubborn. I sat there and tried to justify my actions to an unseen, invisible audience. It WAS Sari’s fault after all. She ruined the happiness, not me. But none of that mattered. I had turned an accident into something much bigger than it needed to be.
My wife, Amanda, was trying to console and reason with Sari, but Sari was having none of it. She was screaming and yelling that she didn’t mean to and Daddy yelled at her for no reason (oh there was a reason… it just wasn’t the right thing to do or the correct way to handle it). I knew I was the only one who could calm Sari down. I knew I had to swallow my pride and go make things right with Sari. Oh how I loathe these humiliating moments.
I went in and excused Amanda and told her I would fix it. Amanda could see in my face my remorse so she left with Macie. Sari was still hysterical, even more so when she saw me enter the room. My actions can really affect this young heart: both for good and for ill! I crawled into her bed and motioned for her to crawl into my lap. It took a minute… broken trust takes a bit to heal. She eventually cocooned into my arms and that melted my heart.
“Sari, I’m so sorry I yelled at you. Daddy was frustrated that you hurt Macie, but I know it was an accident. I’m so sorry I yelled. Will you forgive me?”
Through the heavy breathing that was slowing down, and in a cracked voice, Sari said:
“I forgive you, Dad.”
Those words melted my heart even more. I gave her a big squeeze, and she returned it. Then we left the room reconciled.