All the Things You Didn’t Say

How to take responsibility for your less-than-stellar friendships through the ancient Hawaiian practice of forgiveness

“Momma, can I tell you something?

“Always, Baby.”

“Amar told me that his mom said you have no respect, and he’s not allowed to come to our house anymore.”

In Bosnian culture, a drink is always offered to the visitor as a sign of respect.

I know that now.

Why didn’t she just tell me that?

* * *

I was tucking my daughter in like so many other nights before, and yep, you guessed it, she wanted to talk.

When Luna first spilled the beans about what my friend Amina said about me, I immediately became defensive. I can’t ever recall a coffee-less playdate, but if I’m honest, I could have been quicker to offer the kids some refreshments before they were knee-deep in toys. It certainly wasn’t my intention to disrespect her, her family, or her (Bosnian) culture.

It was maddening to think that the situation could have been defused with something so simple as saying, Hey, I felt hurt and disrespected when…

Then I recalled all the times I could have done better as a friend and was convinced my chakras needed a thorough cleansing.

* * *

“On the surface level, many people have understood Ho’oponopono to be a mantra where one repeats the words ‘I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you’ as a form of mental and spiritual cleaning that could be compared to Buddhist techniques for clearing karma. It has been defined as a forgiveness and reconciliation practice, cleansing of ‘errors of thought’–the origin of problems and sickness in the physical world, according to the Hawaiian worldview. The literal translation is ‘to put to right; to put in order or shape, correct, revise, adjust, amend, regulate, arrange, rectify, tidy up, make orderly or neat.” — Jonathan Davis, Uplift

Making Amends To All The Friends I’ve Hurt Before

I’m Sorry For…

  • Judging you as a mother and your parenting choices.
  • Thinking I knew you better than you know yourself often.
  • Not accepting you and meeting you where you were.
  • Drinking alcohol with you when you shamefully admitted you were struggling with an addiction.
  • Judging you about everything you were and weren’t doing.
  • Not being a better friend.
  • Not setting healthier boundaries (even if it was incredibly uncomfortable), and it being half (my half) of the reason our friendship took a nose-dive out of control in the end.
  • Scaring you and your family when the Sheriff banged on your door at 6 am to serve you with a restraining order.
  • Trying to save you when you never asked to be rescued.
  • Not letting you vent without judgment.
  • Thinking I was a better mom than you.
  • Saying yes when I wanted to say no often.
  • Thinking I knew what was best for you often.
  • Thinking I knew you better than you knew yourself often.
  • Not realizing (or admitting) I was in a codependent friendship with you sooner.
  • Thinking you were my little sister and treating you as inferior because of it.
  • Not knowing back then what I know now. (If I did, my empathy threshold would have been vastly higher.)
  • Thinking, even for a second, that you would choose to be honest with me over being a supportive wife to the man you married.
  • Judging you, your marriage and your mothering harshly and often.
  • Judging you for breastfeeding your daughter at three and a half.

“A real apology is remorse, followed by silence, space, and changed behavior. A real apology is less speaking and more personal work on yourself. A real apology is looking within and addressing what caused you to hurt someone you loved.” — Somewhere on Instagram

Please Forgive Me For…

  • Speaking ill and unkind of your husband and the father of your children.
  • Only meeting your daughter once.
  • Every time I messed up and showed my less-than-stellar human colors.
  • Choosing self-care over maintaining a friendship with you any longer. (I couldn’t do it anymore.)

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thank You For…

  • Your friendship.
  • Making homemade birthday cupcakes and bringing them to me in the hospital after Luna was born.
  • Cooking savory carb-loaded homemade meals (like chicken marsala) and bringing them to my door while Mr. Grey and I were in a zombie-like state with our toddler and newborn.
  • Going out to sushi with me (and rescuing me from the four walls caving in on me on the daily as a stay at home mom with two kids under five) and giving me a much-needed break from parenting and adult interaction.
  • Being absolutely what I needed many, many times.
  • Empowering me to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).
  • Being an imperfect friend to another imperfect person.
  • All the memories.

“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” — Zig Ziglar

I Love You For…

  • Being my friend.
  • Making me laugh uncontrollably.
  • Standing by your family and choosing them over our friendship.
  • Everything you are, everything you were to me, and everything you will be to other friends in your life.
  • Everything you’re not.
  • The good days, the dark times, the ugly truths, and the beautiful memories.

“Here’s to the ones that we got
Cheers to the wish you were here, but you’re not
’Cause the drinks bring back all the memories
Of everything we’ve been through
Toast to the ones here today
Toast to the ones that we lost on the way
’Cause the drinks bring back all the memories
And the memories bring back, memories bring back you.” — Adam Levine

* * *

Damn, that felt good. Thank you for listening to all my crap. Let me be honest here; I haven’t made up my mind about talking to Amina about what my daughter overheard. But I will tell you this, the next time we have a playdate at my house I’m going to have a refrigerator full of juice boxes and Gatorade.

* * *

Thank you for reading and spending some time with me today. — ❤D

Previously published on Medium.com.

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Photo credit: Cameron Ahlvers on Unsplash

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