Saturday, 2 March 2013

When sympathy meets empathy

A friend of mine asked me, when I was a few days overdue with child two, whether I yet felt the need to apologise to everyone I knew who had ever been overdue before me, for not being sympathetic enough. In fact I didn't feel the need to apologise until about ten days overdue, when a momentary lull in my grumpiness made me think again of all my friends who had been through the same previously. I sent them all an apology.

The same friend contacted me recently. She'd had trapped wind. She remembered me once telling her how excruciating such pain could be, and herself felt the need to apologise to everyone who had ever had it for her lack of sympathy. (I think of this when winding my baby and whenever I am tempted to be lazy and give up pre burp).

But it's now I have children that I feel I must make the biggest apology. For I understand what it must feel like to have a sixteen year old be home later than promised or a seventeen year old drive your car at night or an eighteen year old head off to the airport with a backpack. Let alone go hang gliding or scuba diving or drug taking or glacier walking. All I can do, though I know it can't possibly stop my own children doing such things, is say to my parents, and parents everywhere, how very very sorry I am.

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