I recently made a big faux pas* with my family. Now that we are a blended family with Alan’s two grown children and my three grown children, juggling holidays has become a mini-nightmare, especially now that 4 of the 5 children & their significant others live near or on the west coast.
In my attempt to make Thanksgiving plans, I omitted consulting with all the family members on the west coast, so I hurt my older daughter’s feelings, my step-son’s feelings, and possibly my husband’s feelings. I made a unilateral decision about where I wanted to spend Thanksgiving, the first one without any children nearby, and also my birthday dinner celebration in California, since my birthday is soon after Thanksgiving.
I apologized to all the relatives I offended and promised them (and myself) that I would consult with all of them before planning another family event. The issue with adult children is that you cannot say to them, “..because I said so!” I am not even sure I got away with that when my kids were little, because they demanded an explanation for almost every major decision.
The quote above by Diane Greene helped me to forgive myself, another piece of the picture. I messed up and needed to clean up my mess. The truth is, everybody screws up sometime in their life, but the problem is that we don’t always backtrack to see where we erred or make an effort to repair the damage and move on with the knowledge we learned from the mistake. Instead, we rationalize and hope the hurt will go away.
Interestingly, next month, in preparation for the Jewish New Year, we have a service called “Slichas,” (s-lee-kas) in which we go to synagogue to review the errors we made during the year. Actually, when I lived in Israel, the word slichas was used when someone bumped into you or made a mistake in giving you something and learned it meant “Sorry” in everyday language. I will tell you more after I attend Selichot (plural form,often spelled with an e after the s) services in September.Â Perhaps I can explore this Thanksgiving issue further on that night.
What I learned from this somewhat painful experience is that saying “I’m sorry” is not so difficult as I once found it to be, because now I am able to forgive myself for my mistake after apologizing, and be more aware of hopefully not making the same mistake in a future situation. Forgiving myself is something I am slowly learning.
Having a blended family has many blessing, but also makes for more complications at times, since in our case, all the children are grown and have established their philosophy for living, which may not gel with my philosophy. In this case, though,Â if the tables were turned I would be hurt, so an apology on my part was certainly necessary.
This photo from the Internet seemed to fit my comments for today. If you would like to share your blended family issues, I would love to hear from you. (I recently posted a review The Sibling Effect in Reviews, which discusses blended families, so the topic has been on my mind. Unfortunately, it did not help in my struggle to acknowledge my mistake!)
*I looked this up in Wikipedia and the definition really fits in this situation. “A faux pas, (French for false step) is a violation of accepted, although unwritten, social rules.”