Carol and I with our Mom - 1994
Years ago I was required to go to a courthouse to pay a traffic ticket I had procrastinated about. I was one of several people of all nationalities and color forced to wait my turn to see the judge. We waited in a hall lined with benches. I will never forget one lady there with a little boy about the age of two. He was an adorable and very active little guy who gave everyone there a big smile. She seemed very irritated with him not sitting completely still like she had sternly ordered him to do. As she sat there and he ventured off his seat a few feet she would shout swear words and call him unspeakable names and tell him to sit his A** back down. She showed him no love, dignity or patience.
When I was about twelve or so, my sister Carol and I got a tape recorder from our parents for Christmas. It was a hand me down tape recorder that belonged to my older brother and he didn't use it anymore. My Mom cleaned it up and there it was sitting under the tree on Christmas morning. My parents were broke, they had seven kids to provide Christmas for. I didn't understand much about that kind of stuff at the time. The stress and heartache my Mom had gone through to insure seven kids a fun Christmas must have been overwhelming.
Carol and I were thrilled and we loved our present. We spent hours upon hours recording ourselves and others doing and saying silly stuff. We even figured out how to speed up and play our goofy recordings to sound like the Chipmunks. We'd turn the volume up loud and laugh and laugh. It rates among one the best Christmas' ever.
We must have driven my poor Mom crazy for days with that tape recorder. We were asked multiple times to turn the volume down. I remember being at the kitchen counter while she was fixing dinner and blasting the Chipmunk version of something I'd recorded. She lost it. In that moment she was out of control. She grabbed me, yelled, slapped me and then said something that still rings in my ears....."I hate you". I was devastated. She came to me moments later and said she was sorry, I could tell she'd been crying. It was an ugly sliver of time that my Mom lost it and said something that should never have been said.
I know beyond any doubt that my Mom loved me. Her kids were the world to her. She sacrificed for all of her children in one way or another. She did her best. I am sure that my Mom was haunted by some of the things she did or didn't do as a Mom. I know this because I am a Mom. I am haunted by the same thing. Aren't all Mom's human? Don't we all have regret or sometimes want a do-over? Haven't we all had sleepless nights at the end of a tough day praying to do better tomorrow?
May we all have the strength to think before we speak and control our anger. There are so many people that need a kind word from us instead of an angry reaction that causes their ears to sting and heart to feel heavy. I know my Mom would have turned back time to take those words back if she could have. We all make mistakes but lets do ourselves a favor and try harder. I love the inspirational words below that a Facebook friend shared with me. Peace -
We are all susceptible to those feelings which, if left unchecked, can lead to anger. We experience displeasure or irritation or antagonism, and if we so choose, we lose our temper and become angry with others. Ironically, those others are often members of our own families—the people we really love the most.
Many years ago I read the following Associated Press dispatch which appeared in the newspaper: An elderly man disclosed at the funeral of his brother, with whom he had shared, from early manhood, a small, one-room cabin near Canisteo, New York, that following a quarrel, they had divided the room in half with a chalk line, and neither had crossed the line or spoken a word to the other since that day—years before. Just think of the consequence of that anger. What a tragedy!
May we make a conscious decision, each time such a decision must be made, to refrain from anger and to leave unsaid the harsh and hurtful things we may be tempted to say. - President Thomas S. Monson