How strange – right behind the grouping of family pictures in the front room was a wadded pile of shiny candy kiss wrappers. I tossed them out without much thought. Later, while bending to pick something up, I noticed a similar silver slew of wrappers under the sofa. Hm-m-m, what was going on? After finding a third metallic mess semi-hidden behind a lamp, I mentally began to put the pieces together. My festive bowl of candy kisses had been full before our grandkids had visited on Sunday. Now it held but two. I casually mentioned it to our daughter-in-law, who, after being mortified, had to agree with me that for being only 5 and 3, the boys had been quite ingenious in their hiding technique.
That evening her confrontation was met with swift denials. “We didn’t eat the candy!” ” We didn’t hide any wrappers!” Kriss wisely knew that a forced apology wouldn’t be worth much. Her patience was rewarded, for soon after tucking in the candy culprits, they came tiptoeing down the hall, pouring out their hearts. “Oh, Mama, we sneaked Button’s (aka me-grandma) candy. I’m sorry!” “I’m sorry, too!” What sweet relief once they’d spoken those two tough words. However, there was still one more apology to be made…
Rather than my back door being opened with a bang and a shout of “Hi, Button, we’re here!”, two mute, wide-eyed, close to tears little boys came shuffling into my kitchen. One look at them and I almost teared up! “How would you boys like to listen to a story?” Their eyes lit up; we piled onto the sofa, and Tumford the Terrible by Nancy Tillman opened up a time of healing and laughter. Once my dear little ones heard how Tumford the cat overcame his difficulty in saying “I’m sorry,” they understood how important those two tough words are – both to say and to hear.
February is often the time for celebrating love. As I reflect on what that entails, I can’t help but think of how much deeper any relationship is once those involved have been able to say the all important words, “I’m sorry”. Did you think I was going to say, “I love you”? Of course we want to hear that from our spouse and long for the day our children say it, but how precious when we have situations in which those we love come to us and are able to sincerely say, “I’m sorry”. Those are difficult words – none of us like to apologize. And yet when those words are spoken, perhaps that is when we feel the most loved. Trust is restored. It’s been several years since those two little boys hid candy kiss wrappers around my house. They’re almost as tall as I am now. I still buy them candy kisses and tease them about what they did and we have a good “Tummy” laugh together.