Make Mistakes, Admit Accidents by Melissa Rosella

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I maneuvered my stroller very carefully over the sidewalk. James & I had just left a new burritos place & I was balancing two giant bags, on his stroller handles, of pure burrito bowl deliciousness. The wind was insanely crazy that day. The parking lot was super-duper full as the new restaurant was all the rage.

Without thinking, I decided to push the stroller alongside the backside of the parked cars, as my car was amongst this group only a few yards from the restaurant.

I pushed carefully against the wind dreaming of my chicken burrito bowl inside the brown handled bag. I was merely making my way to my car. Suddenly, as I’m walking, a lady in a SUV starts to back up while I’m making my way across to get to my car. Instantly, I pull back & my heart about jumped out of my chest at the thought of what could have happened had I not had quick reflexes and killer mama bear instincts. She had been an inch or less from hitting my stroller. My heart raced. 

“GO AHEAD!!!” she shouted.

I noticed her teenager son in the front seat with his school uniform shirt. I went ahead as she’d so rudely yelled. I didn’t say anything. I just moved forward to my car where I carefully scooped James out of the umbrella stroller and placed him, gently, in his car seat. I watched as the lady backed out and I watched her face and saw her mouth saying all kinds of things to her son. Not sure what her words were exactly, but it was her facial expressions and mannerisms that bothered me most.

I can’t believe she didn’t ask if I was ok, if my son was ok.

I can’t believe she did not apologize for not using caution with a pedestrian AND THEIR 2 YEAR OLD SON in tow.

Really?

No apology.

No checking in to make sure I’m ok?!

I looked at her before she pulled away and she glared & pointed at me with her big ugly index finger, and yelled, “The sidewalk, use the sidewalk.”

Her pointing, rude facial expressions, and not-so-kind mannerisms spoke volumes to me.

Why is it so hard for us to admit when we are wrong?

Why is it so hard for us to apologize?

Why can’t we hold ourselves accountable for our actions?

Sure, I could have used the sidewalk, but then I may or may not have fit in between the cars with my ginormous burrito bags and they might have gotten smashed or my stroller might have accidentally scraped a car, or two.

What lesson did she teach her son in that very teachable moment? I’ll tell ya what she taught her impressionable teen:

“When you make a mistake, don’t take any accountability for it. Just blame others so you can save face. Don’t admit fault.” (avoid looking bad to look good)

Nice work, mom. Bravo for teaching your kid that mistakes should not be admitted, but rather covered up, pushed to the side, or blamed on others.

I hopped in my car and I thanked God for mere inches and centimeters, as that car had missed my son by a single sliver. God is good and is always out to protect us and it is our job to do and be our best to our children. We are not miracle makers. Leave that up to God.

I remember one night, in particular, I was grumpy for one reason or another. It was bed time and I had spoken a little too harshly or said something in a snappy way. I might have called him an ‘a**&&&e’ in the midst of my exhaustion.

By Hope watching me mistreating her dad, she is learning how to treat those she cares for. It was a really poor example.

So, at Hope’s cuddle time, I said: “Mom was not very nice to dad a few minutes ago. I should not have called him a name or spoken to him in such an unkind way.”

Hope looked at me and said: “Mom, you need to hug dad and tell him you’re sorry, not me.”

When B came into Hope’s room for a goodnight kiss, I said: “I’m sorry I was not as kind to you as I could have been. I’m tired and took that out on you. Can I have a do over?  Do you forgive me? Can I give you a hug?”

He obliged.

We teach our children how to treat others. If we mistreat a loved one and catch ourselves, we apologize, & we do it in front of our children so they understand that mistakes happen and missteps are a part of life. We learn from our mistakes and stepping out of our comfort zones.

The growth starts where our discomfort begins.

I remember the day I fell in CA., while holding Hope, down a flight of concrete steps. I remember being in a hurry and wearing super cute, but not so tread-worthy, shoes. I remember carrying too much and being too rushed. I remember being in a bad mood. I remember slipping and I remember an angel placing Hope on the top step and me taking the fall of 10 really hard and really painful steps.

I remember thinking about what could have happened on that second floor, as there was a gigantic drop just to the other side of those stairs.  I remember hearing the crunch of my scapula breaking after hitting each step. I remember B running down the steps and scooping Hope. I remember insisting he check for pupil dilation, bruises, & scrapes. I told him to do so 3 or 4 times, as the guilt and shame had already settled in and was way more painful than the broken scapula. I remember how awful I felt with my coulda woulda shoulda thinking.

Thank God for God and angels and miracles and gravity and baby resiliency because Hope had not one single mark on her entire body. If that does not absolutely solidify your faith in the good Lord, I don’t know what will. Not one single scratch.

Thank God my baby was ok. I remember talking to B’s mom, later, and her asking me: why on Earth had I worn those super not-so-safe shoes,  why was I in SUCH a hurry,  why hadn’t I walked slower and more cautiously, and why did I feel the need to be carrying SO much stuff at the SAME time. She could not believe I had fallen with Hope in my arms.

She is not a believer in mistakes. She is not a believer in accidents.

We may share the same last name, but we don’t share the same view of mistake making and accident admittance.

The fall was an accident. We can coulda woulda shoulda all damn day, but accidents happen, mistakes happen, and praise God our baby girl was not hurt in any way.

It’s vital to use our mistake-ridden and accident-prone lives as teachable moments with our children by admitting accidents absolutely do happen & that mistakes are just a part of life.

They stretch us. They help us become better beings.

When you f&&k up, admit it. Be transparent. Be authentic.

Apologize when you make a mistake. Recognize accidents and move on.

Don’t bathe in shame. Forgive yourself and others.

Move on and be honest.

It is in the admittance of accidents and the forth-comingness of our own mistakes that will teach our children that being imperfect is not only ok, but what makes us beautiful and unique beings.

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