Here is the note that I emailed to the other parents of Cade’s soccer team this weekend:

Dear Fellow Parents,

I’m sort of glad that I had to miss the boys’ game on Saturday, because I would have experienced first-hand my worst nightmare: forgetting treats. This way, I only had to experience the horror after the fact, when my husband called with the news.

I’m so sorry! I hope your boys endured the trauma, but please tell them that Cade WILL be bringing a special treat on Wed. to try and make up for it. 🙂

With much chagrin,
Cade’s Mom (Shannon)

Several moms wrote back, saying the boys had, indeed, survived. One mom said, “everyone had that stunned ‘Uh-oh…I think maybe it’s me‘ look on their faces.” And I would’ve, too. Only this time it was me!

But I have a rule about guilt. I used to mentally slap myself around for hours and days and months over things like:

  •  forgetting the pink lemonade for the 3rd grade Valentine’s party
  •  calling a guy “Mark” for the third time (when Mark was the guy she used to date)
  •  failing to notice the ‘black tie’ detail on the invitation

But I realized that my horrified groaning and ranting (all private expressions, after-the-fact, of course) were less about the people I had failed or dishonored and more about me–about my pride and what people might think.

Then I realized that my humiliation and grief was actually pride. Do I really think that I will never make a mistake? That I’m above such brain glitches?

So, here’s my rule: If I am mostly upset about how my mistake made me look, I don’t allow myself more than 10 minutes of woulda-coulda-shoulda type thinking. If I know that my intentions were good, I do what I can to rectify the situation (like, pour some red dye in water to make it look like pink lemonade, etc.) and move on.

In this case, I sent an email to some parents and bought some Little Debbie snack cakes. Done. On to more important things… like thinking about others rather than obsessing over myself.

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