Today on my way home from work, I started thinking about how, in the seventh grade, I didn't do this really big French project for class. We were given our instructions and the due date on the first day of class because it was a big project and we were to be working on it for a really long time.
I didn't tell my parents because I didn't want to be hounded about it all the time and I figured I'd pull something together in the last week, as was my custom.
Well anyway, I didn't do it. I don't know why I didn't do it; there wasn't any real reason. By the time I was a week away, I couldn't figure out how to ask my parents for help, seeing as I'd never told them about this big old thing. So I just sort of made a pile of papers that looked like it could be a French project and handed that in, sort of thinking that I could still pull it together and by the time my teacher noticed I could have something real...but still, I didn't do anything.
So, naturally, my teacher made me call my mom and tell her what I had done. I'll never forget how when she heard my voice in the middle of the day, she sounded so kind and worried. I think she must have thought I was sick or that something bad had happened. And then I had to tell her that I'd gone and done this idiot thing (and believe me, this was not the only time) and dissapoint her.
So I was thinking about this on my way home from work today and I just
started crying. I kept hearing her voice and feeling terrible and wishing I could apologize.
Of course, this was 18 years ago.
I used to have a similar memory of my dad when I was little. I had learned at school how to carefully peel a leaf from a clover and hold it together with another clover to make it look like a four leaf clover. I did it out in the yard and told my dad it was a four leaf clover. He was so happy for me. I felt terrible when I had to show him it was fake. Up until a few years ago, that could still make me cry.
Once for Christmas or something, I wrote letters to my parents, each with a list of things they'd done in my life that I wanted to say thank you for. Sometimes I wish I could send a similar apology letter, for fake four leaf clovers and French projects left undone. But then I think, maybe they don't need a list of reasons why I suck.