In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Early Years
I was the apple of my father’s eye. He beamed at the sight of me, his love was unmistakable and the feeling was mutual. My sister on the other hand enjoyed this same attention from my mother. We were a house divided. Consequently, closeness was not cultivated between my sister and myself, and we grew up not sharing very much at all. When I was 16 she left home and travelled 3,000 miles away to work for CP Air, an airlines that is no longer in existence.
My father was a very intelligent and capable person. He could repair anything, build beautiful furniture, sing, tell stories, cook, make us laugh and build houses. One day when I was about 2 to 3 years old, my mother went shopping and took my sister along with her as she usually did. My sister was and still is three years older than I and would have been easier to shop with. I remained at home with my papa. I never called him that by the way. He was a working man and that day had been working on cleaning the eaves on our two story house. He was way up above me on a ladder and kept his eye on me by looking down from time to time. I was instructed to play on the front lawn in full sight of my him.
Well that was fine, but I had spotted two six packs of bottles sitting in one of those handy card board cases with the handle. I picked them up, one in each hand and proceeded to the concrete walkway and began jumping up and down with them. Boy did I ever like the jiggling sound those bouncing bottles made. I was barefoot.
My father hollered at me from the top of his ladder. “Stop” ! I paid no mind and carried on with my joyful activity. My father’s fear was that one of those bottles would pop out of the carton and smash on the pavement. My jumping feet would pay the price. Once again he yelled. “Stop right now” . This time I could hear the baritone in his voice. I had better answer.. I looked up at him and hollered right back….”NO”. Wrong answer. He barrelled down that ladder so fast and red faced lift me up by one arm and swatted my backside. He was a strong fit man in his 30’s and his anger got the better of him. He knocked the wind out of me and I stopped breathing. He was terrified that he had killed me. My breath returned and with it a cry that scorched the airwaves. He held me tight and attempted to console me. I had a cry inside me and it was coming out.
When my mother returned she found us in the bedroom. My father was rubbing salve on the red hand print that appeared on my backside. His eyes told the story and I could see that he was so sorry for his action. I never for a moment felt unloved by him. My father and I had a powerful connection, and I know that he also felt seen by me. But, I am pretty sure it was a while before I tried the NO word on him again.
Parents make mistakes and the lucky ones are able to learn from their children. The unlucky ones are hell bent on teaching their children who they should be..