Things I Can't Forget: 1

I labeled this #1 just in case I decide to add others at a later date.  There are others, but I don't know if I'll write about them.  Maybe--maybe not.

All my childhood there was something that I would hear from my dad during times we kids were being kids.  You know how it is... One kid does something to another, the other one does it back.  Maybe it repeats itself multiple times before the inevitable, but sooner or later the same thing happens--'mom, he did this to me, mom, he did that to me--mom, he's picking on me... You know the drill.  Unless you're an only child you've been involved in it at one time or another.  Maybe you were the instigator, the complainer, or maybe you were just a bystander.

Growing up in a family of 5 kids it happened a lot in our family.

Our whining was always directed at mom, but occasionally dad would be within earshot.  My dad had this thing he would say whenever someone would utter the phrase of complaint, and that would be, "Punch him in the mouth!"  We heard it so many times that it was nothing unusual.  I'm sure he uttered it to be funny--never expecting  that anyone would actually do it.  I mean come on--the mouth!?  What kind of father wants his kids doing that?

I don't remember the exact scenario, nor do I remember exactly how old we were.  I remember that I was outside in the back yard at our house in Auburn.  Apparently, my brother, Don, did something I didn't like.  I don't know why, but for some reason, my dad's words popped into my mind, and without thinking or hesitating, I did it:  I punched him in the mouth.  I don't know how hard I did it, but it stopped him in his tracks and knocked him down.  Of course, he cried--probably as much out of disbelief as he did of pain.  The instant I did it I couldn't believe I did it.  I didn't know what to do then.  Apologize?  Run?  As you can expect, it didn't go over well with mom.  She sent us both to our room to lie down.  I think it was one of those, 'wait 'til your dad gets home!' type things.  When he got home nothing happened of course.  I mean, what was he going to do?  Chastise me for actually listening to him?

I hate that I hit my brother like that, and it has eaten away at me my whole life.  I don't think I have ever been really close to any of my brothers or sisters, but after that Don had a reason to hate me.  Whether or not he did so consciously, I'm sure he must have had that tidbit tucked away in his mind.

My dad was not a good parent for life's lessons.  I've said so many, many times before in my blog posts.  This was probably the first time it became apparent to me that he didn't have any good advice or wisdom.

I hate, hate, hate that I succumbed to a stupid remark that my dad meaninglessly uttered one too many times.  I've done a lot of stupid things in my life but hitting my brother that way was right up there at the top of the list.  Some stupid things you do are easily forgotten, but the ones that traumatize you or affect you deeply in some way are not forgotten.  Instead, they burrow deep and fester--staying noticeable enough to never forget them but not really getting worse.

What does he keep hidden from this episode?  I have no idea.  Like I said--we're not close.  Maybe he remembers it vividly, and maybe he can hardly muster even a vague recollection.

I'm truly sorry Don.  Sorry for hitting you in the first place, and even more sorry for letting a little voice of dad tell me to do it.  If it's any consolation, I have had it eating at me pretty much my whole life as one of the biggest mistakes I've ever made.  Family should be first and formost, and that's no way to treat family.  It's no wonder you moved to Georgia.  There was no respect for you here.

We can't change the past.  We can, however, use it to keep other people from making the same stupid-ass mistakes that we make.  That's what this post is for.

For anyone else reading this:  Don't listen to dumb-ass advice from people--friends, relatives, or whatever.  If it doesn't feel right, it's not right.


Maggie Wood said...

This is a wonderful blog and i hope your brother sees it and gives a positive reply. If not it was really a good thing for you to open up like this and now you will start to get past it. That is a terrific piece of advice you added on at the end. I like it very much.