Every relationship serves a purpose, means something, teaches us something, causes something to happen that never would have otherwise happened, good or bad. Why are some people so lucky? The relationships that cross their path are kind and eventful, serve wonderful purposes, cause their life to rise higher than one can imagine. And then there are people who can't seem to get a break, who have bad things just automatically happen. For some reason we end up finding fault with that person, we blame them. Maybe they just took it wrong, came to the wrong conclusion, or wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe they used what they learned to take them down a bad road. But the fact is every contact we have means something to both people. Remember that when you say hello. Fate is standing there...
The group of ground-floor duplexes had a narrow, fenced-in yard behind the buildings, and it was a great place to let my little girl (about 2 yrs) play outside. I could look out the back window every few minutes and make sure all was well. One time I looked out and saw her playing with some of her toys and a small piece of rope she was swinging around. I didn't think anything of it 'till I saw the rope move. That area is known for their rattle snakes... I did not want to alarm the baby so I ran out to one end of the fenced area and told her to put the rope down and come to Mom.. She started walking toward me. I kept saying 'put the rope down!' She had a big smile on her face; she liked the rope. In that instant I was forced to teach the child fear to make sure she would not be bitten. So I yelled: "Its a snake!! throw it away! It might hurt you!" She stared at me then at the fun wiggly rope and went into a panic. She screamed and threw the snake away and I ran over to pick her up. She was okay but I felt so bad. I told her most of the snakes won't hurt you and it just takes time to learn which ones will and won't. How do we teach acceptance and fear at the same time? I discovered this is true of every situation of our life; some relationships are just best tossed over the fence.
Nita was a very smart, not-ordinary child with a quick temper when things did not go the way she had in mind. To add to it, her mother did not like her. Come to find out later in life 'Mother' was not sure who Nita's actual father was.
Later in life Nita asked her father: "Are you my Father?"
His answer was: "So I was told".
So it was lucky Nita was a free, independent spirit. She found a way to do just about anything she wanted from a very early age. Mother was more than okay with the child being out of the house. It was a tiny isolated town and everyone had been instructed to call Mother if Nita had a problem. She got frequent calls, but never went to get the child, she just waited for her to come home. There were times she might talk to the child about an incident such as when Nita was a few houses down the road and watched as one of the women living there chopped the head off of a chicken and then watched the chicken run around without a head. Not much anyone could say about a brutal incident of death, but the mother did say the chicken did not suffer. The mother may have not really felt fond of Nita but she did 'take care of her'. It was a natural, legal, expected thing to do. But nothing was ever done to deny the 'care' was required thing, not desired.
The father was around now and then. He worked in a sawmill and was a volunteer fire fighter. He did a decent job 'fathering' while still pursuing his private life when away from the house. Nita had very few memories of her father, but their casual relationship helped her learn to take care of herself physically and learn 'man' things such as how to hammer a nail and install a screw.
One day, while in the first grade, Nita came home from school upset, crying and angry. Father actually asked her what was wrong.
"Edward took the swing away from me at school! He knew I wanted it but grabbed it and hit me! I didn't know what to do!"
Father gave her a hug and said, " I can help you with that". He said: "When someone is starting a fight, you simply stop, point to their stomach, and loudly say: 'What is that!?' When the person looks down to see what you are pointing at you double your fist and BONK them on top of their head as hard as you can, then step back ready to defend yourself. You are just as tough as anyone else if you find a way to do it."
The next day Edward tried to take the swing away from her. Five minutes later Nita was hauled off to the principal's office and Edward off to the school nurse. The principal then wrote a note, pinned it to Nita's blouse and sent her home. Five years of age, no adults around, no thought of her safety, she was sent to walk home alone. (For Nita it was no big deal. She had been allowed to wander anywhere she wanted from as young as she could remember including being sent home from the Post Office where she had gone behind the counter and started 'putting mail away'. It had taken them three hours to sort out the mail and get it back in the right boxes.)
Her mother read the school note pinned to her blouse: "Nita was in a fight and is being sent home", and started yelling and sent her to her room to stand in a corner! "Shame on you!" she yelled!
Nita did not argue with any of it. She was proud. Edward would never take anything away from her again. That one small moment with a Father taught her something that stayed with her forever.
We can defend ourselves, it's allowed. It tells us that, in some way, every relationship makes a difference. It tells us it's okay to take control of a situation to keep yourself safe, and well worth standing in a corner to know you will never in your life be abused by anyone again.
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