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The lesson that most stands out from my childhood was one I learned - rather painfully - when I was about eight.
My family and I had attended my cousin's wedding, and we were ready to drive my paternal grandmother home following the reception. As my cousin - the bride - was leaving the hall, she presented my grandmother with a rose from her bouquet. It was a touching moment and the effect was not lost on me. But I was thinking, wouldn't it be even nicer to give her the whole bouquet?
As we sat in the car waiting for traffic to clear, I turned to my mother and stated that when I got married, I wouldn't give my grandmother one rose from my bouquet ----- and at that point was told by my justifiably horrified mother to hush. She wouldn't listen to the rest of my thought, which was that I would want to give Grammy the whole bouquet. Mom just hushed me again, saying "That's enough!" in the voice that I knew meant business.
When we got home I tried to explain, but afterward all she said was, "Well." I felt unjustly accused and injured and misunderstood, and was sad that I had probably hurt my grandmother's feelings and she would never know what I had intended.
But I did learn that there is a good way and a bad way to talk about things.
As a suitably ironic footnote to this story, when I got married many years later, I presented to my grandmother . . . . . . a single rose from my bouquet. As often happens in life, even the best of intentions can be undone by circumstances. My husband's grandmother could not attend the wedding due to ill health, and we delivered the rest of the bouquet to her in the hospital as a way of including her in our day.
I wonder if my grandma remembered then what I had blurted out so many years before.
And I still do, half a century later.
Half A Thought Is Worse Than None
A happy occasion: a cousin's wedding;
Young and old and every age in between.
Confetti and cake and Sunday clothes and flowers ...
Ah . . . the flowers.
A single rose
Given, with love, to Grammy by the bride;
Noticed, with interest, by a little girl
Who decided her Grammy deserved
Not a single rose
But the entire bouquet.
Lacking, as yet, the facility to think very far ahead,
The little girl began the thought aloud:
"I wouldn't give Grammy one rose --"
She meant she'd give her Grammy every rose instead.
Never had a chance to finish the thought ...
Never had a chance to repair the damage ...
But learned a valuable life lesson --
It's not just the thought that counts.
It's the words, too.
|Courtesy of Pixabay|
Have you ever have the wrong words slip from your lips, when you meant something very different? Did you have a chance to correct it?