According to the world’s beloved Merriam-Webster, an apology can be defined as:
- a statement saying that you are sorry about something
- an expression of regret for having done or said something wrong
…which is generally what most of us rational adults have come to understand the word to mean, right?
Especially with regard to point 2, it is usually rather clear when an apology is not meant sincerely or “with regret” as per the above definition- and THIS is the sort of apology I am going to write about tonight!
Back when I was a teeny tot, I was pretty much the Queen of the family; not just to my Mum and Dad, for whom I was the first child, but also to the entire of Mum’s side of our extended family… I was also first grandchild!
I must say, hearing the stories of how I would constantly find myself in the limelight, subject to a free-flow of “Oooh”s and “Aaah”s and delighted squeals of “She’s so chubby!”, absolutely loving the attention and basking in it, almost makes me wish one of the most significant events to happen in my toddler years didn’t take place and subsequently rob me of the pleasures of the centre stage.
The birth of my sister.
Once she popped into this world, all the attention which I had previously commanded was immediately shifted onto her beautiful, smiling, wide-eyed, angelic face. She was such a beauty! Where I was a grumpy baby (according to my parents, I cracked my first legitimate smile at 6 months and it was a cause for huge celebration), she was cheerful in contrast. Where I was heavy, earning myself the nickname of “Mike Tyson” when I was still a BABY (!!) by my gleeful but loving aunts, my sister was tiny. And lastly, where I was born as bald as a badger, she had the most perfect head of tight luscious curls!
Geez Louise, don’t I sound bitter? I swear I am not, or have at least long outgrown such feelings, but it is safe to say that growing up, the relationship between my sister and I were akin to that of the fiercest cat and dog in the neighbourhood! We fought over everything, and any silly excuse was grabbed viciously to engage in torrentuous fits of screams as best as any three- and five- year old humans’ bodies could!
And that would be when our glorious Mum would step in; Dad was no match for his little daughters’ surges of emotion, he was too playful! With Mum, on the other hand, we learned that the easiest thing to do was to just give up.
Because our little minds had come to learn that amongst Mum’s many embarrassing strategies to force my sister and I to co-operate again was the dreadful “I’m sorry, I love you” hug.
It would suffice to say that we never let Mum get her way easily in her attempt to get us within a centimetre of each other. However, Mum also is the Master of the Withering Glower; merely throwing one such expression in our general direction usually had us obey her command pretty damn instantly.
So my sister and I would throw our arms around each other very awkwardly, mutter an indecipherable apology, and quickly withdraw our arms from the body of the other lest we infected ourselves with the other’s bacteria. Mum would then block our crack at a hurried escape, tell us she was unsatisfied with the lack of “sincerity” with which the whole transaction had occurred, and make us do it again! Can you believe her cheek?!
And so my poor sister and I would have to face each other again (upon Mum’s prod for us to look each other in the eyes), say “sorry” by somewhat feigning true remorse, and join in another quick embrace. However, by this point, our childish resolve to be as angry as possible would have wavered somewhat significantly, and we would be fighting back fits of gigg- ARGH WHY IS IT SO HARD TO KEEP UP AN ENRAGED FACADE!
Going back to the definition of an apology, our three- and five-year old selves never truly regretted getting ourselves into the fight, but the effect of the hugs served to remind us that we were sisters and any argument could be solved with a little gesture of love, even if it was forced initially!
Twenty years down the road, my sister and I have the best relationship with each other. I can safely say that she is my best friend. Every now and then when we do find ourselves getting into a bit of a quarrel, we joke that we might need to perform the Apology Hug before the argument got any worse. We haven’t actually needed to because the magic would have already been created by the mere thought of it.
Mum was definitely on to something!