Sigh. It would have to do.
But as we crested the landing, Matthew turned his sad, gorgeous eyes to me and said this:
"You always make ME say sorry nicely, Mummy. Why didn't Luke have to say it nicely? It's not fair."
"You're absolutely, positively 100% right, Matthew. It's not fair and beginning tomorrow morning, I promise to be more aware of it. OK?"
"Why can't you talk to him now?"
"Because it's late and everyone's tired and because I don't have the energy to fight with Luke, to be honest."
"OK, but Mummy, you have to promise to remember. Luke won't learn to say it nicely if you don't tell him right away when he says it wrong."
"I promise. I'll remember. Thank you for being patient and reminding me, Matthew."
Seriously. Seriously? This kid. He shows me every, single day who I am. Today, I am not a thing of parenting prowess, that's for darned sure. I am an ugly, shrewish witch.
So thhhhheeeennnn he says THIS:
"Mummy, can I tell you something else that's not fair?"
"You sure can, Bug."
"You call me names sometimes and it hurts my feelings. You tell US we can't call names and you do it. That's not fair."
"Uh....names like Bug and Silly Monkey?'
"No. Names like ,"Sneaky" and "Menace" and "Little Boy" in your mean voice."
(As in, "Don't push your luck, little boy," in an admittedly sneering and nasty tone.)
"Boy, Matthew, you're really helping Mummy today. And you're right. It's NOT fair of Mummy to call you names that hurt your feelings, especially when she's grouchy. I'm sorry. I'll be aware of that, too."
"OK, Mummy. I'm glad I didn't hurt your feelings telling you. I just get sad and frustrated when things aren't fair."
OUCH. Oh, what a terrible agony truth is.
Every, SINGLE day I have the opportunity to mold and shape this wonderful little boy into a compassionate, kind and thoughtful man. And every day, but especially today, he shows me that he is already all of those things.
It is I who needs lessons in compassion and thoughtfulness.
Thank God I have Matthew to show me - to teach me - what my best should look like.
My best? Is him.
A few days after this lesson, I guest-posted over at Six Ring Circus. It's a follow-up to this post, and is called "Truth and Forgiveness." Check it out!