Tonight I was actually breathless when I read the last line from the last bedtime story to a particularly stubborn Miriam. I had nothing good left to give her, nothing good except my apology. Miriam?
Yes? (She twinkles a smile at me.)
I’m sorry I got so frustrated with you tonight. Will you forgive me?
I forgive you, Mom, it’s okay.
It only took me two and a half years of parenting to get so angry that I caught myself wishing my dad were alive so that I could tell him, “I blame you less, Dad for your mistakes.” My dad had his own particular failings as a parent. He was verbally abusive. He was narcissistic and distracted and an addict. But he was also the parent of two girls, just like me. So tonight, after I scrubbed the dinosaur kale smoothie off the floor and the chair and three different walls, after I tended to the bloody nose, and after I wiped the blood from the stairs and the kitchen drawers, and after I unsuccessfully scrubbed the yellow crayon off the wall, and the built in cabinets, and after I apologized to Miriam for having lost my temper, after all of this, I know now that my dad wasn’t only a horrible parent, he was also just a parent of two girls, one who I imagine was particularly stubborn. And so if you can hear this,