In This Family, Forgiveness

We have a rule in our house: If I say I’m sorry for wronging you, you can’t say “forgiven” until you are ready to mean it. If you aren’t ready to forgive, then don’t say it. Just say, “okay, thank you,” when someone says sorry before you are ready to forgive.

Because, once you say sorry, it’s forgiven and forgotten. You can’t bring it up again tomorrow, next week, next year. We don’t remind each other of our past mistakes. We keep no record of wrongs. All four of us will hurt each other in big and small ways, and we will apologize, and we will forgive.

My son is the quickest to forgive and move on, my sweet girl, not so much. She has always felt things more deeply, and has been known to hold a grudge a few minutes or hours longer than her little brother. There was a time when she was about 6 that I hurt her feelings. Neither of us remembers what it was that upset her, but we both remember her retreating to her room to write me a note about how I’d hurt her sweet little self. She continued to use this “retreat and write a note” technique over the next few years. I wish we kept one of the notes as an illustration here, but part of forgiving and moving on was destroying those notes. NO record of wrongs!