Apology is a lovely perfume; it can transform the clumsiest moment into a gracious gift.
~Margaret Lee Runbeck
Luau was walking across the schoolyard, making his way to the usual spot where we meet the girls at pick-up time.
Luau looked down, trying to avoid his eye, thinking it better for both of them and assuming that he’d make his way around him.
He was wrong.
The other father’s confrontational path was apparently by design.
He moved himself in front of Luau and stopped him as they intersected.
“Can I talk to you for a second?” he asked.
Luau was incredulous.
“I totally understand the protective parent thing,” he said out of nowhere. “You confided a very personal thing to me (apparently Luau had told him that Brooke has autism in their initial confrontation – which answers a question that some of you had asked in that post and I’d not known the answer to until hearing this story). It got me thinking and I really just want to say that I’m sorry that I was complacent. And I want you to know that it’s been taken care of.”
He continued to apologize until a somewhat shell-shocked Luau put out a hand.
“Thank you,” Luau said. “It takes a big man to say I’m sorry.” He patted a flat palm over his heart.
They continued to shake hands – a gesture imbued with a very different meaning than its predecessor a few days earlier – and eventually went their separate ways.
I barely believed Luau when he told me what had happened. This sure as hell wasn’t the same guy who had walked away from me a week before.
I’d be lying if I said I was jumping up and down with excitement after hearing the story. I was pleased; don’t get me wrong. But you see, I don’t really know what ‘it’s been taken care of’ really means. As much as I’d like to trust that this man had a life-changing dialogue with his sons, I’m not quite there yet. And honestly, I’m not really over feeling like Luau is not really the one to whom he (or more importantly his boys) should be apologizing.
But I’m trying. Because as my friend Carrie would say, ‘not enough can be made’ of the fact that this man took a step – a HUGE step, a leap in fact from where he started – toward compassion. Toward understanding. Toward empathy.
He thought about what had happened. He allowed himself to see the situation from a different perspective. He began to understand the effect it had on my child. He made his way across the schoolyard to make sure that his path would cross Luau’s. He reached out a hand.
He said, “I’m sorry.”
No, not enough can made of that.