Love ’em and Forget ’em. (an open apology letter to my children)

Dear Noelle and Caedmon,

You know how you’re always learning and growing?  Well… me too.  And you know how you make bad choices, which come with consequences?  Well, me too.

Your Dad and I believe that it’s important for grown-ups to admit mistakes and say I’m sorry to you guys.  Because kids are valuable and as deserving of an apology as any big person.

So, along these lines… I’m sorry.

I figured something out this weekend and it’s all about us, our family… and a little bit about the rest of the world too, in fact that’s the my point here.  

You guys matter to me more than anyone else in the world, but sadly the way I act doesn’t always reflect that.  I’ve let myself get too worried about what everyone else is thinking about our family when my thoughts should be focused on you two.

On what you’re thinking
On how you’re feeling
On what each experience is teaching you about life and humanity.


This is my job as your mommy, to help you learn about life and how to think and respond to the world around you.  My bad choice lately has been this:  I have been too worried about how the world is thinking and responding to you.  

And that’s the wrong way to think guys, if we can change this together, we can change our lives and maybe even the world.

Nope, definitely even the world.

And again, guys… I’m sorry.  I should know better by know, but I still have so much to learn too.  Thanks for helping me with all this learning, for teaching me how to be a better mommy.

It’s a tricky balance, the way God calls us to live: we’re here to love and serve the people around us, everyone the same… but not to worry about what they’re thinking.

It’s tricky, I know but we’ll get there.

I feel like I have a million “I’m sorrys” to say to you, but can we start with just a few?

I’m sorry for the times when you’re struggling to learn something and I apologize for you instead of holding your hand or helping you on.

I’m sorry when I look around at others when you’re having a tantrum instead of locking eyes with you and guiding you through that.  (also if you could just cut the tantrums out completely we’d have smoother sailing… okay? okay.)

I’m sorry that when we’re connecting and having fun I look around to see how others are perceiving us, checking to see if they’re giving me a smile or a thumbs up.  Because you’re my person, the one in the grocery cart chatting about sweet corn and fishies.  I’m here to be with you not to get praise from random strangers.

We’re a loud, creative, active, busy family and from now, on I’m viewing this as a point of pride. Any time anyone tells me that you’re busy or noisy or silly or tall or energetic … I’ll respond with only this: “Thank you.”

Because I’m here to help you learn to navigate life not garner high marks from the general public.

I’m sorry that I’ve failed here, and I promise to see you clearer, love you stronger and surround you with people who love us just as we are, works in progress, a completely lovely, messy set of Pennys.

  • Mary Evelyn Smith

    Love this and so well said. It’s difficult not to see our kids as a reflection of ourselves when we’re out and about. I know your husband is in the ministry (my father was too) and my mother struggled with this a lot– worrying about how our family looked as a Christian example when we were such rowdy (and sometimes argumentative!) children. I know I struggle with the same thing when it comes to my son. It’s tough but I think you’re doing a great job and I appreciate you writing about this stuff.

    • leannepenny

      Thank you so much Mary. It’s good to know we’re together on this battle and you’re right. Ministry wives get it the worst but in reality, I feel like we should be modeling grace the fiercest. Fierce Grace… oxymoron? hmm…

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