“I’m sorry I screamed at you when it was time to leave today.”
“Well, I understand that you were having fun dancing with the other children. It’s hard to leave places sometimes. Thanks for saying sorry.”
This unsolicited, honest apology makes me feel the same way I did when I watched her take her first tentative steps without holding on to our fingers, or when she went off to play at daycare without pausing to give me a hug & kiss first. A baby’s growth and development is so astonishingly dramatic in the first year of life, when babies magically transform from an a bundle of senses and reflexes to a walking person who understands quite a lot of what is going on around her and can communicate a lot of things even without proper words.
After that dizzying first year the changes seem to slow down a little, but I think that slowing is actually quite deceptive. There is an enormous amount of growth and development that happens throughout childhood, but as time goes on it becomes more subtle, more about emotional and intellectual steps rather than physical ones.
In any case: wow. Hearing that today made me feel really good. A heartfelt apology is a powerful thing, no matter how old you are.