Oh, God, I finally did it.
It's been on the tip of my tongue in too many fights, lurking in the back of my mind in oh-so-many silent conversations held in my head afterwards, and now it's been said.
We were fighting - as mothers and daughters do - and I said it. The unforgivable curse.
"You are just like your father!"
I want to be clear that being like her father doesn't automatically curse her to perdition. She's like him in a lot of good ways, but in this one thing - this one tiny thing - lies a ton of my projected insecurities and a wealth of bad history that slammed into me and forced the words from my lips.
My daughter, like her father, never says "I'm sorry."
It's not that she's never sorry (even though she assures me in the heat of an argument that she's most decidedly not). I've seen her be sorry. I've watched her feel sorry. I've recognized that she's trying to make amends or reconnect after we've had a blowout. She just doesn't say the words.
And I need the words. I've always been someone who needs the words. Especially after we've both said - and shouted - some really mean things to each other. We both need to say the words.
Right now, I'm feeling that need keenly - because that curse shouldn't have come out of my mouth. My ex should be off-limits as fighting fodder. Her father is not a weapon, or a curse word. He's a human being, and above all, he's her father. Their relationship to each other is a thing my words and actions should not be subverting. Ever.
I feel like a failure for it, and in truth, I am. And I am sorry. So very, very sorry.
Tomorrow is another day. I just keep telling myself that. I just have to keep on trying. And loving. And learning from my mistakes.
This parenting thing is not easy, was never meant to be easy. There is no waving a magic wand, or whipping up a potion that will make it easy. It's all trial and error, and learning to keep the unforgivable curses behind your tightly closed lips, where they belong.