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?

(Big smile.)

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,

I forgive you, Dad, it’s okay.I have 2 Girls