I’m an apologiser. To the point that, at times, I would be considered by many (probably most) as overly apologetic. I’m up for saying sorry, for owning my part in the moment/argument/disagreement, but also don’t mind owning a bit of other peoples’ parts in it too, if they’re not really the apologetic type. Which funnily enough, when you are someone who says sorry, you tend to have lots of interactions with people who would rather lose a limb than say those two words.
I’m pretty sure I got my remorse gene from my Mum, and her post conversation realisation that she may have said something offensive, meaning at a later point in time, she would have another conversation to apologise and ‘clear it all up’. She even wrote my daughter a little card and posted it to her to say sorry about something she had said when my daughter was having a sleepover two weeks before (which was really sweet, but my girl had forgotten the “terrible thing” my Mum had said, until she got the card. She was still ok with it, but I laughed, as it meant my Mum had said the “terrible thing” twice!!). My Mum is beautifully, wondrously over-apologetic.
My Dad, on the other hand is a limb loser. He apologises with gestures, but very rarely with words. I have many memories of his gestures to my Mum during my childhood, but no understanding at that time why she didn’t often accept them graciously and move on. I get it now of course, but back then I wondered why she said “I don’t want those bloody bulbs”, when my dad had spent ages digging them up from the front garden (probably outside because he’d said something well worth apologising for). I, on the other hand, am a sucker for gestures – to the point that if someone says they “thought of” buying my/giving me/making me or doing something for me, that counts almost as well as the real thing. My guy knows this, but also knows I know he knows, so he most regularly goes for the real thing. He’s a limb loser too by the way, coincidently?
So, on Friday, my Dad got a little stressed about an insurance claim I may have taken a little too long to submit and he gave me an earful on the phone (the poor claims guy at our insurance company got an earful of my irate father before I did, and he was ready to apologise to anyone for not doing the claim EVEN THOUGH I hadn’t actually managed to give it to him yet). My dad and I have quite different views about what constitutes a busy schedule but (and here’s me owning my bit) it was sitting on my desk waiting for me to do it for a week or so before the phone call. Anyway, the insurance claim got sorted, and my parents came today for afternoon tea, and my Dad brought me a bouquet of wildflowers from his garden. I didn’t get it at all at first, and even later when he admitted to be doing a lot of “growling” in the last few days I thought he must have been referring to Mum or someone else who had been annoying him. It wasn’t until he left and my sister and I were chatting that it clicked.
I’m not certain it was an apology. It was a gesture and I’m taking it anyway, because the flowers really are beautiful, and regardless of his inability to say sorry, I do know he loves me. I’m taking the apology because I’m OK with him and how he sometimes (often) comes across as a grumpy old man. I don’t have anything to win by not accepting it, and hoping he’ll see my point of view that I have heaps going on and can’t prioritise the same things he does. I don’t actually have to hear him say something that might be that hard for him to say.
I’d rather have the flowers. And I’m not sorry about that.