My Mom Apologized To Me and My Inner Child Healed

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January 20, 2023
Read Time: 3 minutes

Normalize apologizing to children

 

 

In my 20 years of living, I’ve managed to grow a collection of painfully awkward moments. See, there was a time I actually answered out loud when our professor asked, “How’s everyone?” I also have a godmother who’s been spelling my name wrong since I was born…I think it’s too late to correct her. And, of course, a Filipino classic: I have had to beso relatives who I never knew existed until that very moment. Topping this abundant list of awkward moments is hearing my mom apologize to me.

 

Over bibingka and hot chocolate, my mom shared stories from her childhood. Most of them involved her parents (and parental figures) humiliating her in front of many people. Born in the 60s, her experiences involved verbal and physical punishments. Let’s not dive into that, but I know that if she does anything remotely similar, and I post receipts online in this day and age, she’d get canceled immediately.

 

While my mom has good relationships with them today, she narrated her childhood stories with cracks in her voice and pain in her eyes. She and I have a close bond; we haven’t experienced much problems and, honestly, my childhood wasn’t that bad. Still, she took the opportunity to apologize for what she might’ve said or done before. She realized that she, too, was a child, and she knew an apology would’ve helped her heal, so she gave it to me. “Be the person you needed when you were younger,” as the poets say.

 

Not being used to it, I responded with, “Ma, ang corny mo (Ma, you’re so corny)!,but the truth is, I appreciated it. A lot. In the far future, when I tell my children stories from my past, I know my voice won’t crack and my eyes won’t tear up—and it’s all because, though awkward, my mom said her apologies.

 

 

Let’s practice what we preach by empathizing. Maybe our parents let their emotions take over and get angry about something small. Perhaps they were stressing over work and ended up redirecting it to us. They probably have too much on their plate with no space left to listen to our explanations. I’m sure there were times when they didn’t have the energy to approach us, so they hoped for us to approach them instead. And yes, maybe they thought that surprising us with our favorite food was enough to mend the situation.

 

@mr_russramirez Is it just my parents or ya’ll know what I’m talking about 🤣 #fyp #tiktokph #relatable #parents ♬ original sound – Cisa Lurrie

 

Regardless, these don’t erase their mistakes. Their feelings at the time were valid, for sure, but their actions weren’t—and it’s about time we talk about it. Children cannot absorb everything thrown at them (especially when they don’t deserve it), so it’s important that elders take accountability and acknowledge their mistakes.

 

I heard perfect children reflect perfect parents, but chasing perfection means creating a world where nothing will ever be good enough. I understand parents carry some form of anxiety (and even trauma), but we’re more similar than we realize. That, alone, should drive us closer.

 

 

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A post shared by nino (@ninotbh)

 

Everyone is bound to make mistakes and that’s okay. We’re defined not by the mistakes that we make, but the actions that we take. While no apology can take back the harsh words that were said or the excruciating hits that have been given, each apology is a start. It’s a spark of hope that tells a child that the pain won’t last forever because changes will be made. It’s the assurance that, even when you find yourselves in the same situation, things will be different. Things will be better.

 

I figured that one of a parent’s duties is to give their children as many awkward moments as possible. I hope the next one you experience is that of your parents apologizing. Trust me and my mom—it’s not too late.

 

 

Words Kyla Villena

Art Macky Arquilla

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