This is the skein of thoughts that ran through my mind as I walked yesterday...

Now that I'm a mother of grown sons, I'd like to apologize to my mother for not calling every Sunday.

Now that I love cliches, I'd like to apologize to my father for thinking the clips he sends me are insufferably cornball.

Now that I go out wearing whatever I want, I'd like to apologize to my niece for asking her if she was going out in that?

Now that I'm aging, I'd like to apologize to everyone I ever snapped at for moving too slowly.

Now that my ears are ringing, I'd like to apologize for exasperation at having to repeat myself, louder.

Now that I've passed my prime earning years, I'd like to apologize to my bank account for all the unnecessary stuff I thought I needed.

Now that I know where all our trash ends up, I'd like to apologize to the planet for all the unnecessary stuff I didn't need--and tossed.

Now that I'm a writer, I'd like to apologize to every writer I ever kept waiting for a response to a manuscript.

Now that I'm working for myself, I'd like to apologize for every bill I paid too late.

Now that I understand how little time we have in this world, I'd like to apologize for every moment of impatience at how much time things--and people--seemed to need.

But apologies aside? No matter how old you are, it's worth sitting on the other side of the desk, for at least five minutes five minutes a day.

Add your own "Now that I'm...."

(Photograph is a detail of ceramic art by Sergei Isupov from the Ferrin Gallery.)


Lindsey said...

I love this. What wisdom. Now that I am the mother of an an eye-rolling tween daughter, I apologize to my own mother for putting her through hell when I still loved her as fiercely as ever.

Dominique said...

Beautiful. Wait'll you get to the point where you can't even breathe right. Somehow, though, I'm sure this is all for the best! Fierce love--love that! thanks.

david terry said...

hmmmm...now that I've turned 50 (after DECADES of unthinkingly accepting help from friends & family who've helped me when I needed the support and/or assurance?....I'm glad to be able to say/know that "I'll Go Too".

go to this link to hear what I'm talking about. This video from a live performance misses the initial-lyrics, which are "When I was small/I often said/that there were ugly things/Beneath my bed/I'd slip downstairs when I got scared/Into the safety of Dad's easy chair./ and that chair was like a long, deep sigh/and I'd stay until he said 'It's time',/But he'd always put hand in mine/and say 'I'll go too".

go to:


I suppose I should emphasize that Carrie is not sending me any pennies for the number of youtube hits I generate for her.

That said?.... this is a very-very fine song. I was playing it just before reading Ms. Browning's posting.

Last night, I was surprised to receive a telephone call from the historically taciturn husband of yet another elderly, longtime friend who's suddenly in the hospital (and to be frank, probably not coming back). He talked for an hour and a half, and I (for once in my life) simply listened.

After he hung up, I sat out on the back porch for a while, listened to this song, and once again decided that I'm grateful to have finally grown up enough to be of some use to other folks.

So, that's my own answer to Ms. Browning's question.


David Terry

Dominique said...

Thanks, David, beautiful song. And lovely image of listening to your elderly friend. I have a phone call to make to my aging aunt...

Faith said...

Dominique, I loved your writing as an editor and this is wonderful. I will share it with my daughter (now a mother of a toddler) and re-read with my own mother in mind. She has dementia and lives in assisting living.

Thank you...I'm saving it to share with my sister.

Judith Ross said...

This is such a beautiful post. The artwork, the song David posted. It is all amazing food for thought.

"I'll go too" has so many meanings. For me, it is the softening I have had toward my now elderly stepmother. She came into my life when I was still a teenager — a mere two years after my mother died. She was neither the brightest nor the most sensitive bulb in the box.

These days, though, I see how her life has made a sudden and irrevocable downward turn and I know that some day "I'll go too."

Anonymous said...

now that we are sick.

we'd like to say sorry to everyone we didn't spend time listening to who was sick then.

now that we know what it feels like.

we'd like to ask other people what it feels like for them.

and never say "it'll be ok."

because now we're In It, we know that right now it sucks. and when people say "it'll be ok" it sounds like "stop fussing".

and that hurts.

a lot.

loving learning this lesson. it's opening us up.

at last.

thank you for writing. we adore your work, dominique. and often visit your book on the iTouch when the subway becomes unbearable en route to the Day Job.

much love, team gloria.

Project Girl said...

Now that I am a pedestrian walking a dog, I am sorry that I used to drive faster than needed and careen around corners. Cars seem like they are going so much faster when you are the pedestrian!

mary said...

Oh, thank you for this great and insightful post. There are so many things that I could add; but I have been living with the concept that it is impossible to walk in another's shoes and therefore, any judgments or assumptions we make are always invalid and, therefore, pointless--it has been really hard to turn off the brain bias to categorize, judge or disrespect another's journey (still working on this one). Mary

Anonymous said...

Having just come from a family reunion, I am so very sorry I lost contact with relatives over the years, some of whom are now gone forever. And I'm sorry I didn't understand that family is an amazing, rainbow threaded fabric that gives meaning and a sense of self over hundreds of years. I promise to do everything I can to preserve our family history for future generations . . .

And David Terry and Dominique, that you for introducing me to Carrie Newcomer. She is the first musician I have listened to with joy and wonder for twenty years.

Tru Dillon said...

Now that I am older, I would like to apologize to the very old lady that worked in the meat packing plant with me when I was 22 yrs old. She was 60 and still working in the cold meat lockers everyday and I wish I could have taken the time to get to know her instead of being so scared of her.

pamela said...

Now that I am older, I would like to apologize to my younger self and body for not treating her a little better and recognizing how YOUNG and beautiful it was.

But this isn't the other side of the table is it ... Now that I am a stay at home mom, I would like to apologize to the stay at home moms I judged when I was single.

Great post! xoxo

profA said...

Such a nice post, D. Very much liked the photo. The clear-eyed damsel. Lovely (even though her dermatologist would be all over her for not wearing her sun screen!)
Gosh, what to apologize for? I think that having turned 65 this summer, I am just trying to get over being hard on myself for simply being human. For doing all those thoughtless things that we do when we're young and older, too, for that matter. It's just part of how we learn ...eventually. As you pointed out, the trick is to have compassion on someone else acting in the same boobish manner! Especially young people. Hard, when they are treating you like a fossil, speaking of B&J's encore.
Two things though...I would like to be able to tell my mother, now that I am blessed with a grandchild, that I am beginning to understand just how much she must have loved me. Of course, I knew she LOVED me...but not that feeling of just how unfathomable it was. Grandmommyhood is teaching me that. Hmmm, the other thing, oh, yes...being more patient with people who are learning something new that I found a snap! Like music. Always was like breathing to me. Guess what? It isn't for everybody. So, I always try to keep myself learning something new, just so that I can understand what my dear students may be going through.
But mostly, as I said, I am trying to come down off the throne of judgement over myself and others. Life is sooo short, and so beautiful.
Linda B.

Deborah A said...

Its so funny that you would post this as those very thoughts that you mentioned have been running thru my mind alot lately.
Mostly I think about this very strong, talented lady that I worked for when I was in my early forties, she in her eighties.
In her prime she was a extremely talented designer for Strahan Wallpaper. She inherited her talent from her father who was a famous architect.
I don't know if any of you can remember back when the Colonial designs were popular. Little medallions, colonial hats, drums ect. She designed them all. She had kept the original designs in a box and would drag them out for me see every so often.
She would often tell me how much she envied my "youth"...how she wished she could be my age. It pains me to think that I couldn't really understand what she meant at that time. Especially since I was actually feeling kinda of old at the time.
Now I find myself looking at young women, wishing I could go back, and fully understand what she meant! Its not that I don't embrace this age and all that... I just wish I had the same agility I had then...not to mention smoother and tighter skin!
Anyway, this lovely and talented woman did live until almost 100, keeping very active until the last year. What an inspiration she has been for me all these years, I keep a few of her beautiful drawings and paintings where I can see them every morning when I first get up.

Tricia said...

Now that I find myself driving a little slower that the mainstream traffic, I apologize for the times I admonished a slower driver with, "Come on grandpa, move it along."

Sarah said...

What a delightful post.

Now that I'm a serious cook, I apologize for all the meals I wolfed down.

More coming.


Gail, in northern California said...

Now that I am older, forgive me for every "thank you" note not written because "I was too busy".

Kathleen said...

But...but...but...some of these apologies could never be fathomed by the young you...you needed the wisdom which comes with experience...with age. Be kinder to your younger selves, my Dears.

david terry said...

Given the thread established by several of the previous posters, I gather that this anecdote won't seem entirely un-apropos.

That said?...I recently had a telephone-conversation with "VL". Yes, that would be the regular-poster on SLL, whom I met through the blog and who turns out, not surprisingly, to be a very-real and very-smart and very-subtle woman, living right here in Our Own Fair Country.

In any case, she and I have had a similar year (in my case, I've thrown 5 funerals and am about to throw my sixth....all of them preceeded by the predictable round of hospitals and nursing homes). As I told "VL": "I've spent the entire year feeling like I'm back on the 6th grade playground....and someone just came up behind me, smacked me hard on the back of the head, and yelled 'You're IT!....the Designated Adult!!!!...."

"VL" allowed as how she's often felt the same way, herself, over the past while.

Spoiled as I've been for several decades,I have no idea how this came about in my life, but I gather it's time for me to (as Ms. Browning writes) start learning what you can from the other side of the desk.

quite sincerely,

David Terry

linda said...

Now that I've learned how to be more honest, I'd like to apologize to my ex-husband for stonewalling him when he accurately pointed out mean or thoughtless things I was doing - by saying "why do you think that? I'm not doing that!" etc - by just denying denying denying even though I knew even then that he was right about what I was doing and I just could not face up to it.

Christa said...

Now that I am over 50, I'd like to apologize for thinking that was over the hill - for thinking that those old people should slow down - for not listening to the wisdom just beginning to emerge at mid life.

Love this, thanks!

pve design said...

Now that I am living with one less child who was safely deposited at his University during a wee earthquake - I'd like to apologize for ever doubting that he is indeed a move and a shaker.

My sister read "The Cracker Queen" and in the book, she said four things we must live for, love, forgiveness,
gratitude, and purpose. I think apologies would be filed in the love and forgiveness area.

Deborah A said...

To David Terry,
The above 2 comments are the very reason why we missed you recently. Yes, we all get to be the "adult" sooner or later...kind of like "paying your dues". No one goes through life without strife at one time or another. I think almost everyone gets to "sit on the other side of the desk" and look back and say Wow, was I a selfish dope.
I think its wonderful that you are able to articulate so well your life experiences and even make fun of yourself. Dominique has the same ability, which is why we all enjoy her posts and this site so very much. Please keep commenting, you were missed heartily.

profA said...

Came onto the site just now, sans glasses, and thought the damsel winked.
Yes, Deborah A., I agree. If we're lucky, we get to sit on both sides of the desk. And if we're really lucky, we get to push back from the desk and go out for a walk in the garden.

david terry said...

Dear "Deborah A"

Sincere thanks, of course, for the compliments.

Re-reading this series of comments, I was just reminded of my favorite anecdote concerning Nancy Lancaster (the celebrity-decorator niece of Lady Astor...born, like her aunt, at Mirador, an estate outside of Charlottesville, Virginia). Both women went on in life to attain considerable fame/fortune/husbands,etcetera, and both obviously ended up spending most of their days in the not necessarily edifying (by my standards) glitterati set of entre-guerre England. As a general rule, I was raised to regard the Langhorne women's doings with a more-than-slightly raised eyebrow.

Nonetheless, you have to admit that Nancy was stalwart. Hasely Court (her enormous, famously decorated, mostly 18th century country house, which she'd spent 16 years restoring) caught on fire one night in 1970. The family was woken up in time to save most of the ground floor's pictures and furniture, but the firemen couldn't do anything to save the house....which burnt utterly to the ground that night.

73 year-old Nancy, having been told that there was nothing that could be done to save the house, simply told the fireman "Don't tell me. Please do what you can, thank you"....went out back, found a hose, and began watering the garden with her back to the burning house.

She continued watering the garden until the head fireman came to tell her that there was nothing to do but watch the rest of everything burn to the ground.

Ever the horse-woman, even at age 73, she simply announced "Well, life IS a series of Grand National jumps."

I do admire that sort of fortitude.

Level Best as Ever,

david Terry

SweetRetreat said...

How well I remember being impatient with my mother and urging her to move faster getting out of the car. Her words "just you wait" certainly ring true today as I move a bit slower and hope nobody notices, or comments.

Linda @ a design snack said...


Many thanks to Pamela for apologizing to the stay at home moms.

And I'd like to apologize to all the young women I vehemently resented for their thinly disguised disdain and insulting comments about my husband's income, when I left a career to be a stay at home mom.

Elizabeth said...

Now that I'm the mother of a baby I'd like to apologize for every eye-roll I directed at wailing babies -- and their parents -- on planes and in restaurants. We really ARE all doing our best.

Virginia Country House said...

Great post. I've been thinking about the same things lately. In fact, I regret not having more information about my great grandmother and my grandmothers. I should have asked them more questions about their lives. I wish I knew now, what they experienced and how they felt about it. I'm truly embarrassed that I didn't pay more attention when I had the opportunity. I am not going to let that slip by again with my parents.

Warren said...

Now that I am older I am grateful for my teen daughters who keep me humble by reminding me of my short-comings. Laughing at myself first helps.

Now that I am older I am grateful for classic movies that remind us when style, wit and conversation mattered -- when people that interrupted would never be invited back.

Diana said...

Even as recently as yesterday, I was annoyed at my 18yr old son for coming in so late that he was still sleeping at 2pm in the afternoon. What a waste of time to sleep the day away, I've thought frequently when I pass his room, and his feet are hanging over the end of his bed. Now that I'm writing this post at 4:23 am I would take it all back to be able to sleep through the ENTIRE night and even into the daytime. Having enough fun to stay out late, and be able to sleep all day are indeed a luxury, not a waste of time. Sleep is precious!

Deborah A. said...

Warren, Yes, our children certainly do keep us humble, sometimes one has to wonder, if we are as dumb as they think, how we managed to get them to this age without dropping them on their precious little heads!
Diana, I hear you!! Oh, to be able to sleep like that again!
Jennings and Gates, So very true...How I wished I spent more time asking questions of my relatives.
Elizabeth, Yes, there is nothing like experiencing things first hand to have more emphathy for others.
Sweet Retreat, I find myself saying "just you wait" to my son already...concerning his young baby girl growing up!! And he already is saying.."Oh, now I know how you and Dad felt,.. i'm so humbled" I tell him you will be still learning humbling lessons 20 years from now!

Claire said...


Your contact at Atlas & Co, Nicole, her email is bouncing back. Is there another good way to contact you?


online editor at Garden Design

Home Decor said...

Sometimes it takes to become one to realize things. It's human nature to be stubborn. Man chose to make mistakes just to learn from it.