Promises and Mistakes

I just left a small software conference and heard something very refreshing. The CEO/President and the Chairman opened the conference up with a pretty typical state of the company speech. What was refreshing about it was that during their opening remarks they said that over the past year they had made some mistakes, the made some misjudgments, they had stated anticipated changes and made decisions that had not come to fruition. All of the consultants there knew that already, but it was refreshing for them to say that, and to own it, it gave us a respectful perspective. We quickly moved on, now that it was dealt with, and the entire conference was very positive and successful.

CCI12082014_00000I laid down that night and thought about Andrew, like I do every night. I made him promises and told him what I was going to do during his life. Told him how I was going to raise him and protect him. Promised him the sun and the moon. Of course he was only a few days old, and probably didn’t understand much of what I said, but I still made him promises. And to make is worse, I reiterated these promises throughout his life. To stand by him and to support him throughout his life, no matter what he did, no matter how he turned out. Now I am here, alone, staring at the darkened ceiling knowing that we never fulfilled these promises. Some of them he was too young for us to fulfil. Others we just never did. While many others we did fulfil in the short time we had him.

The other part was a little harder to face. Mistakes.

Andrew – I made mistakes during your life. Some of them caused you pain, some of them made you cry, other just made me cry. Some of them were obvious, while others were only visible in hindsight. But I definitely made mistakes. All parents make mistakes, we are not perfect, and raising a child is an on-the-job learning experience. We learn as we do, and as you grow. Maybe we learned a little too slow, or a little too late.

Most parents have a lifetime though to correct their mistakes. Or at least to make right by them. They talk to their children, they discuss what happened and they move on. Their mistakes become learning experience and help them as their kids grow up. Your mom and I don’t have that chance – and it sucks.

CCI12082014_00002Most of the mistakes are small. Insignificant in the course of a lifetime. I always drove fast – and you learned by watching me from the back seat, which probably explains why you got let’s say more than one speeding ticket. I am sorry I didn’t slow down and set a better example for you. I know I upset you when I argued with someone over insignificant things, like a bad hotel room or a price discrepancy – and I tried not to when I was around you – but I did it way too often. I know it’s too late to teach you better, but you will be glad to know that I really don’t do that much anymore. You have taught me to be much more compassionate, patient, and understanding. Unfortunately too late for you to appreciate it.  But I know you know you have changed me for the better.

CCI12082014_00001In the grand scheme of your short life, I know these broken promises and mistakes are minor. I know you had a great life, I know you know you were loved and cared for and your mom and I did our best to raise you – and we are doing our best to raise Nicole. I know these mistakes were insurmountably outweighed and outnumbered but your positive experiences, and I am at peace with this. I can close my eyes and recall the good memories. But I wanted you to know that I am truly sorry for these mistakes. Hopefully one day, somehow, you can let me know you forgive me.

All parents make promises that get broken. All parent make mistakes. But it is those of us who can put them into perspective and make them relative, who can properly love our children and grieve for them unconditionally. We cannot dwell on the promises we broke, the mistakes we make, the unspoken apologies – for they are in the past. We must remember our children, remember the good, remember the love, and hold on to that as we move one foot in front of the next.


10 thoughts on “Promises and Mistakes

  1. Sally

    Perry, Your heartfelt apology to Andrew for whatever mistakes you may have made really touched me. It has also inspired me to write my own apology to Jill so thank you for being willing to put this out there for we mourning parents to consider as it may pertain to each of our own circumstances.

  2. Barbara Muldoon

    Well said Perry. I only hope TJ knows whatever mistakes were made were mostly done on the learning curve of parenthood. Thank you.

  3. Adam Reinisch BIG Entertainment

    Perry your words not only hit me hard…. emotionally & personally, but also helped me to realize that I have 2 lovely girls that I need to be the BEST Parent I can be… watch my mouth, yelling, etc.. Andrew in the short time I knew him will always be with us when I say us I mean everyone that you have ever connected with… you & him are an inspiration to all… G-D bless you guys… & know it hurts so bad for your loss… your updates made a fat old guy ball just a little or I may just be a sissy… Adam BIG…

  4. Scott Mason

    Yes, it’s perfectly natural for loving parents to want only the best — and to be their best selves — for their children. But of course nobody can live up to that kind of standard day after day, week after week, year after year. What I do know that you and Dorothy gave Andrew (and continue to give Nicole) is infinitely more important: you were, and continue to be, ENGAGED parents. Just from observation in the relatively brief time I’ve been privileged to know you I’ve more than a few times thought to myself that here’s a family where, truly, “family comes first.” That’s not always (or perhaps often) the case!

    I’m sure that for the entirety of his too-short time with us Andrew knew that his family was always “there” for him. Presence, not perfection, is the greatest gift a parent can give a child. And by that standard Andrew was truly blessed.

  5. Kathy Rath

    O.K. Perry,

    That was so beautiful. As you know. I beat myself up quite often for the mistakes I made with Michael.
    I am sure if had he lived longer we would have had time to iron some things out as he matured, as your wrote in this post. I am crying but this post really helped me.


  6. Keith Eric Hampton

    Perry, your awareness instantly guarantees your self-forgiveness if you’ll accept it. So don’t mix regret with guilt as you have nothing to apologize for. When you meet Andrew again, this will all seem like an Instant ago, and you’ll laugh together. Keep up the Good Work my friend!

  7. Rhonda

    This is something I struggle with everyday Perry. You putting it out there makes me realize that I always have room for improvement. Thank you for sharing

  8. Susan Wallace

    As always, beautifully stated… Love is everlasting and all-forgiving. I believe Andrew knows more about you now than ever before… My thinking about death is that when a loved one is taken physically, they are more in touch spiritually… In such a state, there are no boundaries, no barriers, nothing unknown. The spirit is within us, and thus can share our thoughts and feelings. I’m not sure if this is your belief as well, but in my case, I came to this conclusion after many “strange” things happened when my mom passed away. I believe she is not only with me, but within me. Feeling this way, I know she is aware of my broken promises and mistakes, but now she lives in me, so she understands how and why they happened.

  9. anna giorgianni

    Thanks Perry for putting it all out there, you always give me reason to think. I’m working on reminding myself daily that Josephine knew I was always there for her even when we no longer lived together. It’s real hard for me as far as not blaming myself as a parent. My therapist who’s known me for 20yrs, has to remind me that I made the best decisions that I could given the circumstances at the time. Friends that know me say I was always there for Josephine but I still struggle with some of the decisions I made because I miss her so much. Life was just starting to calm down with her and I, she was starting to mature before my eyes and then I blinked and she’s gone. I really appreciate your blog, it helps me, thank you,


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