When do I say I'm sorry?
- If I'm too close to someone in public
- If I feel like I'm taking up too much space
- If I bump someone
- If I'm next in line and someone is behind me but wishes they were next in line
- If I order the last piece of banana bread and the person behind me wishes they did
- If I cough when I'm sick
Etc, etc. Pretty much all the time. And with a smile on my face, to boot.
So even though I try not to say it, it slips out quite a lot. I think it's because I'm often going around the neighbourhood with not only my own child, but with two others. An umbrella stroller with a kid on either side of it takes up a lot of space on a sidewalk, and it doesn't move very quickly. Don't even get me started on how much space we take up on the bus. So before people even have the chance to say anything, I often find myself offering up a smile and muttering those words, "I'm sorry."
A few months ago we were walking down the sidewalk to the playground and after saying I was sorry, a woman actually had the nerve to say to me "You should be!" And you know what? It was then I realized that I wasn't actually sorry at all. And maybe I never had been.
So while oftentimes an "I'm sorry!" still slips out because of habit, the truth is: I'm not sorry.
I'm not sorry because all I'm doing is taking care of a few little kids, and we are outdoors getting some sunshine instead of sitting inside watching tv.
I'm not sorry because if you need to get around us, you can just step on the grass. If you can't just step on the grass because you are in a wheelchair or for some other reason, you can say "excuse me" and we will be happy to move.
I'm not sorry because I don't have eyes in the back of my head, so if you are behind me, I can't see you or hear you among the chatter of little voices.
I'm not sorry because if you are headed towards us, you stepping around us is a lot easier than the 20 feet it seems to take to move 2 kids and a stroller completely sideways (that is, of course, if we haven't already gotten out of your way because we saw you coming).
I'm not sorry because if you want to walk faster than us, you can walk around us.
I'm not sorry because a long time ago, you were a little kid too. And adults all around you had to be patient so that you could be given an opportunity to explore your world at your pace, and safely.
I'm not sorry because everyone has a right to "be" and take up the space they take up.
I'm not sorry because we are doing the best we can, walking the quickest we can, and taking up as little space as we can.
I'm not sorry we are walking.
I'm not sorry we are there.
I'm not sorry if it's inconvenient to you in any way.
I'm not sorry because while you are a blip in the grand scheme of their lives, what's important to me is that these little kids don't grow up thinking they need to apologize for simply being, and every time we walk down the sidewalk it's an opportunity for me to teach them that.
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