Monday, August 19, 2013

A Woman in her Thirties Stops Apologizing

When I lived in China, I worked with a Danish guy who told me he could always spot an American by the way they are always apologizing for everything.  I remember fighting him on this, and now I am eating crow as I write this post.  You were right, K.  Sorry.  

It is no secret that I was nervous for my trip last week to California.  Nervous is an understatement.   Petrified.  Terrified.  Stupefied.  All of the above.

And of course, as it always goes, Aaron had a rough week right before we left, including a slew of new teeth and a throat virus which we will NOT call Hand, Foot, and Mouth.

(Trust me, he's not feeling good here.  Promise.)

So I was scared as we said goodbye to L at the security gate early Sunday morning, and maybe a little teary as we watched him walk away and Aaron whined for me to lift him out of the stroller.  

That is when the apologies started happening:

To the lady I pushed in front of because she was trying to cut in front of me in the security line:  Sorry.
To the TSA agent who had to do an additional screen of my milk bottles:  Sorry.
To the people around me in the waiting area who had to watch my kids play on the floor:  Sorry.
To the flight attendants:  Sorry.
To the other passengers:  Sorry.
To the rental car agent:  Sorry.
To every single person who might have been inconvenienced by the fact that I was traveling by myself with two small children:  Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry!  Sorry!!

(Actual photo of us waiting at the gate for our flight.  Dora PJ's.  Tiara.  Michigan Sweatshirt. Check, check, check.)

I caught myself about mid week, and put an end to the excessing apologizing.  We had invaluable time with Grandma:

Met and played with lots of good friends:

And spent time with family we never get to see:
(No babies were harmed in the taking of this picture.)

And for that, I am most definitely NOT sorry.  

I'll be totally honest-- the trip was hard at times.  Not PTSD hard, but hard.  The flights were hard.  The sleep was.... well, this is a subject I would not like to discuss.  But even though I didn't get a chance to see everyone I would have liked, and even though Friday could easily have been dubbed 'Mental Breakdown Day,' the trip was totally worth it.

I adopted a mantra for the flight home yesterday, one of many little gems I picked up from Southpark: 'Screw you guys.'  When people gave me the please-don't-sit-next-to-me death stare at SFO, I repeated my mantra in my head.  When Aaron was done sitting in the seat but the fasten seatbelt light was on.  When Anna shouted loudly, 'Mama!  I have to go PEE PEE!' at 25,000 feet.  I did what I had to do, and told myself that anyone put out by it can go take a hike.  Preferably off the plane.  While it was flying.  

As we deplaned yesterday, I heard from a random person (for the billionth time), 'You did this by yourself?  You're crazy!'  My first instinct was to apologize, since she was probably inconvenienced in some way by my situation.  Instead, I silently repeated my mantra and said, 'Yup, just call me Super Mom!'

Because-- sorry-- that's exactly what I am.  


  1. Love this! I apologize too much, too. I thought it was a Midwestern thing. Once someone was walking so closely behind me that they stepped on the back of my shoe and tripped me. To which I replied (you guessed it!), I'm sorry! It's ridiculous. I'm proud of you for being less sorry/more Super Mom!

  2. You ARE SuperMom!!! I'm SO glad you came!! Miss you SO much already!

  3. I'm pretty sure my actual advice before your trip was to tell people to s*ck it. You were nicer, but good job. :) Love the South Park reference. That show always makes me think of you.

  4. That IS exactly what you are!

    And - funny - I always thought the excessive apologizing was a Chinese thing. I guess it must just be a trait of people who are (overly) considerate. I'm glad you are embracing your awesomeness and acknowledging that you are no less deserving of consideration than anyone else!

    Also: those photos! Priceless. Did Anna kick her tiara stage while she was there? It is noticeably absent from the California photos!

  5. You ARE Super Mom! It was so good to see you guys. And that last pic of your brother and Anna...LOVE.
    Here's to hopefully catching up on some sleep this week!