One of my workshop writing challenges for this upcoming week is with the prompt, "and that's when I made my big mistake." Here is what I came up with:
And That's When I Made My Big Mistake (SB1)
I grew up in the country. Mother and daddy were farmers. I wouldn't have called us poor in those days, yet I clearly remember eyeballing a cockroach in hunger. Those days are what we old timers called the simple days.
We would get up at 4 am. and work all day. The only breaks were for meals. The sun setting meant it was time to stop working and have supper. We didn't bathe very often and shoes were only worn if we could afford them. Summers were hot and winters were mild. Our priorities were work, God, and school in that order. As the oldest of six children my responsibilities allowed no time for play.
As I grew into a young woman my mother taught me the skills involved in homemaking. She took great pride in our little shack. She would oil the floors until I could see my reflection staring back at me. She taught me how to sew, cook, clean, and wash the clothes in the pond. All of these tasks I found indubitably monotonous.
Once, when mother was ill with dysentery, my aunt Martha came to care for her. Father was too busy in the fields to tend to the sickly or do the womanly chores. Aunt Martha felt the house was over run with children and shooed everyone out. I opened my mouth to protest.
I quickly shut it. Rather than remind her that I could help, I decided to take advantage of her distraction. I am unsure where this idea came from. My family never took days off, even for Sunday church, because there were always chores to be done.
I knew my choice was going to get me the switch but I had already started on this course of action; I had to keep going. With so many family members I had to move stealthily around the farm. I was trembling with each step. Every twig that snapped made my heart accelerate.
When I reached the clearing, I dashed along the creek path so as not to leave a trail. I tucked my skirts into my waist. I was going to explore the world. Part of the excitement was that young women were forbidden to roam the woods themselves. I exited the creek bed and began to trek though the brush.
The leaves on the trees were hues of orange, red, and yellow. I collected the most beautiful. I watched the light dance through them as they swayed with the breeze. I felt like it was their song just for me. I skipped stones on the water and looked for arrowheads. I even attempted to make fire out of sticks like my brothers.
I noticed that the sun was lower in the sky. This snapped me back to reality as I realized I wouldn't make it back on time. I noticed that my skirts were now dingy with black mud. I knew mother would be furious when she saw them. It was my only dress. I wanted to cry. How could something be so wonderfully fun and naughty equally?
I made it back to the house but the sun had set. Father was outside leaning on the fence post smoking his pipe. When his eyes rested on me, his expression didn't change. This brought out the fear of God in me. He slowly pulled his pipe out of his mouth.
"Where have you been Mary?" he said in a hushed tone.
I looked down at my hands. I felt ashamed of my choices.
"Look at me, Mary. Don't make me ask you again." he said with even more control and quiet.
"I am so sorry daddy!" I cried. "Aunt Martha..."I trailed off in sobs.
"She told me."
My mouth fell open in surprise. I didn't know she had sent me away intentionally. This caused me much internal consternation. Had I taken advantage of her goodwill with my sneaky behavior?
I decided to plead my case. "Daddy, I....I wanted to see the woods, to know what it was like outside of my work. I was pulled in by the world around me and got lost in its mystery. I was deceitful and that was my big mistake. I won't do it again. I will take the punishment I have coming."
My daddy looked down at me sternly. He held my eyes for what felt like an eternity, in silence. My pulse was racing. Then he winked at me as I stood there in bewilderment.
He leaned in and kissed my cheek. "Best wash that dress before your Mother is well." He then turned and walked into the house. When I think of my daddy, this is the day I remember.
This story is ficition written for the scribbles challenge. Thanks for reading.
I just burned myself really bad. I mean yelping while flinging stuff around burn. Why you might ask yourself? The answer: friggin' diorama.
That's right folks, a school project took some of my skin and left a few blisters too. I wouldn't mind so much if my son learned something from the project. The fact is he learned nothing. Zero. Zilch.
Watch this video and you will see...I asked him flat out what he learned.
I am typing this post with ice glued to my hand. I am fuming..well as much as I do. (those that know me know that my fuming is some peoples normal days) I support teachers. They do more for our youth than a lot of their own parents do. I love them for all the hours and time they put into my children. I understand they have to find ways to reach the kinesthetic learners. But WHAT THE HELL IS IT WITH DIORAMAS?!?!
I personally think it must be revenge for those parents that say, "Not my kid" and "It's your fault". I am not one of those parents. I help in the classroom. I bring coffee, cookies, and cake. I spend hours of my time cutting things out.
This morning, I was dropping my children off at school and I said my usually goodbye. "I love you. Remember to make good choices today." As the words came out of my mouth a memory flashed through my head. When they were in pre-school I started saying "Make good choices today" at drop off. I am a stay at home mom and this was the only time they were out of my care. There teachers always looked at me odd when I said my phrase. Both children's teachers at one point or another scolded me about the words. They told me that my kids were very well behaved and didn't need reminders. I tried experimenting with each child, back then. I made myself not say those words. I dropped them off and told them I loved them. At pick up, each child had not had a great day. The teachers were flabbergasted and said both had been outside their normal character. This made me wonder how it is that those few words could make such a difference. I tried the experiment a few more times with the same result. This was puzzling me. You see, I am a parent that does not believe in ever hitting children. I don't believe in raising my voices at them. I don't believe in calling them names. I believe in firm discipline in love and understanding. I believe that lowering your voice in anger has better results than yelling. I believe that hitting is a lazy way of parenting because follow through takes more time. I believe that name calling results in broken spirits. I have never been the type of parent that thinks my kids are beyond bad behavior. I know exactly what they are capable of but also believe that, with the right guidance, they will make the right choices. I am a firm disciplinarian. I will never spank but my children know "Yes ma'am and no ma'am". I don't yell but when I say I want something done I don't get talked back to. I don't call names so I hear "I love you mommy and I want to live with you forever". My children are not an extension of me. They are their own feeling, thinking person. It has been my job, from the moment of their birth, to raise them to leave me. They will go and be a strong independent adults that control their emotions and show love to others. In this knowledge, I find the will to be the parent I should be rather than smother them. You don't know how hard that is for me. I am, by far, not a perfect parent. I did learn from the mistakes that were made in my childhood. Kindness, compassion, and a listening ear will get you further with children. I have no problem telling them that I am wrong or made a bad choice myself. It takes 10 positive words to replace one negative word. Affection is paramount. This brings me today. As I said those my mantra they said, "I love you mommy". Those 4 words that melt my heart several times a day. They both kissed me in front of their friends and wrapped their arms around me. I knew they would make good choices. I am proud to call them mine.
I am excited to share some of my adventures of the last week with the thoughts community. Today, though, I will share the not so wonderful parts of the last day of our vacation. The beginning of the day was eventful but it climaxed by 10:30 that night. I am an experienced cruiser. Friday night I was up dancing until 3:30 am. I knew that Saturday would be a day at sea and would be relaxing. Saturday morning I woke up to the boat rocking with great intensity. I thought it was just a few small waves or the my lack of sleep but I couldn't shake the foreboding feeling about the day. We all got up and dressed and went to the Lido to have breakfast. My kids started moaning so we hurried back to the room to get them some Dramamine. The room was already made up for us so we unmade our beds and had them crawl into it to rest. (I have been on 7 cruises this is not typical) We saw outside there was a great storm and they announced that there were eight foot waves that the boat was fighting. Fortunately by that evening they would be gone. At this point my son started puking and most of it made it into the trash can. I cleaned up what I could but had to call out room steward to clean the carpet and change the linens. We went down stairs to give them room to clean up. I suggested the 3rd floor because the lower middle of the boat is the most stable. The place was covered with green looking people laying around. There was a nice lady with some medicine that you rub into your wrists to make them feel better. It worked instantly so they went into the theater to watch "Tangled". We managed to keep them feeling better and get some lunch in them. I went to lay down in my now clean room. I napped until 5. We went to a cocktail party that was a special invite event. They were serving drinks two at a time. I really didn't feel like drinking. Around 6pm we went to eat dinner and I just watched them eat. We heard an announcement break in saying that they don't normally break in unless there was an emergency. (Remember the boat is making giant rocking motions) They were sorry to have to make this announcement. My hairs stood up. He said "One of the main pipes broke. We have been working on for the last hour with no luck". I looked at my husband with panic in my eyes. After a pause the cruise director said, "...so there will not be hot water for the next two hours." I shook my head and complained to my husband that that wasn't an emergency and how needless it was that he announced it that way. We dropped our kids at the kids area because it had been a long day and we wanted them to have fun. We hung out at the pub and socialized. We walked down to the comedy club and sat down. The boat had finally stopped rocking. We were looking forward to letting our hair down when the boat just stopped. (around 10:30) Then then emergency announcement came on again. The cruise director said, "I know you are tired of hearing my voice today. This is a sad moment. I regret to announce that a passenger just jumped overboard. We have alerted the coast guard and are turning the boat around to see if we can find this person." I sat there dumbfounded for a moment. My husband went to get the kids. I raced down to the cabin. Met the family there. I grabbed my jacket and went up to the top of the boat. They had spotlights out and we were all looking to see if we could help spot the man/woman. We saw a blinking light in the waters quite a ways out. Several of us thought we saw movement from that area. The spot light found the spot and we all held our breath as the rescue boat was deployed. I was crying and so were many of the other passengers. (Some were videoing which I made very clear to the teenager next to me was gross considering this was a life not a friend putting on a play) As the rescue boat deployed a movie started on the big screen. Free Willy's theme music was playing in the back ground almost as if planned. As they made their way to the beacon of light they stopped and pulled something from the water. Then they moved to a second location and were there for longer. This time they pulled something from the water and we were pretty sure it was a person/body. They started hightailing it back to the boat. The announcements came on again and they said that they had in fact found the person. They couldn't confirm or deny the condition of this person but finding him/her was in fact a celebration. The majority of the people yelled and hugged each other. We knew the likehood that this person was okay was slim. The lowest floor they could have fallen from was the 5th. Then the rumors started. On my way to my room I heard it was a 14 year old girl. Then an older man that lost all his money in the casino. I heard that it was a man that was drunk who was fighting with his wife and she pushed him. It took moments for all of this to feed the hunger for knowledge and answers. The next morning we got conflicting reports but we still understood it was a person who jumped. Now I read up on it there are conflicting reports coming from the cruise line.