Oh, sweetheart, you didn’t have to say all that. Nobody’s perfect; God knows I’m not! I’m your mother and I love you, and nothing will ever change that. You said you’re sorry, and that’s enough for me.

But if it’s what you need to hear, sure, I’ll say it: I accept the apology I demanded from you.

There, there. Feel better?

I know you and I don’t have a perfect relationship. Sometimes conversing with you feels like talking down to a wall. You’re young, still figuring things out, too cool to be berated by Mom, I get it! I’ve been there. But what you’ve demonstrated today—the maturity to do exactly what I say, when I say—makes it clear to me that my motherly advice and stern ultimatums don’t go in one ear and out the other.

All it took was a little nudge from being forbidden to attend your grandmother’s funeral for you to see things from my side.

And that your apology was expressed in the precise manner I dictated makes it all the more meaningful. Even though you certainly had no obligation to follow my meticulous instructions on how to formulate and communicate your apology, that you nonetheless heeded every detail—from following the script verbatim to making sure at least three family members were within earshot—proves to me just how sincere you are.

You even managed to track down an olive branch! Almost identical to the one I sketched in my instructions! It’s impossible for me to stay mad at you.

Look, people make mistakes. What’s really important is taking responsibility for your actions. And that’s what you did, sweetheart.

All it took was a little nudge from being forbidden to attend your grandmother’s funeral for you to see things from my side. You could have covered your eyes, ignored my countless threatening voicemails, and run away from your problems, but instead you faced them head-on and told me exactly what I wanted to hear.

I could not be more proud of you.  

It warms my heart to see the responsible young adult you’re becoming. I remember a certain someone who used to hate admitting when they messed up. This person (I think you know who I’m talking about!) hated it even more when I took those honest mistakes and made them about me and my insecurities. But as you’re beginning to understand, you can’t just sweep your problems under the rug and hope I don’t build them up into metaphors for my failures as a parent. You have to be proactive. You have to be an adult.

The truth is, this isn’t the first mistake you’ve made, and it certainly won’t be your last. That’s life for you! But always know, from the bottom of my heart, there is absolutely nothing you could do for which I wouldn’t devise an elaborate, humiliating demonstration of self-flagellation in order to forgive you. Heck, you could rob a bank or total the car, and I would still find a way to shame you into conceding the precise words of regret I’d need to feel better about myself.

That is a mother’s promise.

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