My child–my brave, kind, smart, loving, and complex child–has nothing to apologize for. Yet, over and over again, in the past year, he has begun to apologize to me for all the “trouble he is.” Every night and every morning, “Mom, I’m sorry for all the trouble I am.” During the night as he battles demons in his sleep, “I’m sorry, I’m SORRY.” My child has started apologizing for his very existence. It breaks my heart.
Over and over again, I say back, “You don’t have to apologize for being alive. You’re my son. It is my HONOR to care for you.” But it doesn’t help. I hear his apologies as I try to sleep and it makes me cry. Why should any twelve year old’s life be so complicated and his brain so atypical that he feels unworthy of being here and being cared for and loved? It breaks my heart.
I cry and I hug him and I eat cake late at night and I wonder what can I do, what can I say to take away this cycle of shame and blame he feels? Last night I connected the dots. I told him I grew up feeling just like that and I am still, at 52, working on not taking the blame for everything and shaming myself. He rested his eyes and fell asleep. My son, myself. I’m sorry this is one of your legacies from me. It breaks my heart.