“I was still learning.”

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My girls and I were chatting recently and reminiscing about all kinds of different things. As one topic and memory led to another, I started to have Big Mom Feelings for both of them and began to tell them how much I like them and how proud I am to be their mom.

But as the conversation wore on, we all started to laugh as we recalled the littlest one in her much younger days. She was…How shall we put it? A handful. More fiery than the older two. A biter, if you must know. Much more physical and strong-willed than I was used to. Years ago, my then 5 year-old nephew once referred to her as a “rough woman.” We have many funny stories about things she said and did. And she knows this was true of herself and also laughs about it now.

But during this recent conversation, she looked up at  her older sister and I with a shy smile and said these very profound words:

“I was still learning.” 

Oh.

Oh baby girl. Oh of course you were.

How I love those words. How moved I was by her very gentle and compassionate perception of her former self. And though I didn’t make a huge deal out of it in the moment, because I’m pretty sure I may have been met with eye rolls and slightly blank stares (Mom is FEELING again)… That little sentence won’t leave me alone.

The rearview mirror of life can be pretty unforgiving. And age doesn’t even really matter. Most of us have no shortage of regrets. Words we wish we had said or never said. Choices that hurt other people or hurt ourselves. Broken relationships. Missed opportunities. And just the general crap of life. Bleh.

2014 is coming to a close and I’m already beginning to take stock of how it all went down. But now I’m resolving to take a page from my daughter and remind myself ever so tenderly, “I was still learning.” And I am still learning. Everyday. All the time. Maya Angelou once reminded us “When you know better, you do better”, and now my daughter has reminded me of this as well.

Be gentle with yourself and each other, dear readers. We’re all still learning.

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