Some months ago I babysat for a family with a baby boy and a 2 year old girl. She was playing with toys, crouched over her knees and I was next to her, probably looking at my phone. Suddenly, I felt too hot in the room so I got up and decided to jump over the little girl to the fan switch at the exact same moment she shot her head up and I kicked her in the head, or as I prefer to say, popped her with my heal a little bit. After making sure she was physically okay I had to assure her and myself she was emotionally okay. This was the first time I was watching her, she had no idea why I kicked her and it could easily be construed that I kicked her because I am a child head kicker! I think she forgot all about it. I have worked for them a few other times and she seemed safe. It was probably hardest on me because I know my continued struggles and weaknesses and being careful, paying attention… it’s why I am bad at math.
I wanted to start with a story about a time I felt deeply ashamed as a child but it got derailed very quickly. I was a late 8 or 9 years old, sure that I had wanted to be the one to walk with my grandmother, who was dying of breast cancer. We were leaving the hospital and she tripped on something because I was going too fast and she fell and got a giant gash in her head and we had to turn around and go right back in to the emergency room. Where she got stitches.
“NO!” That’s all my mom had to say through out my account.
“We were outside of the grocery store in Fairview and I don’t even know if you were there. Aunt Weezie was there, ask your Aunt Weezie. She got that gash from the bathroom, Abby. Your grandad was there and she wouldn’t let him take her to the hospital and nobody could convince her to get stitches. She needed them but she never got them. It had already healed by the time she died, Abby! It was so big because she didn’t get stitches. She hardly got hurt when she stumbled but no, we weren’t at the hospital, that was in Fairview.”
My Aunt Weezie’s account was also different. “Oh no, we weren’t at the hospital, we took her after because she did hurt her chin but again she couldn’t be convinced to get stitches. Were you there? Yes, you were probably there then. No, she threatened your grandad that’s why he called us. She wouldn’t get stitches. She was very stubborn, you remember that, that is where you get your stubbornness from, your grandmother.”
I have spent a lot of time elsewhere in life. This has effected my school, my work, my relationships and perhaps my fate. Despite this, much of my experience has been exceedingly beautiful and privileged and I need to share how I found freedom and ask for help where I am still trapped.
Some people have obvious flaws and weaknesses. I have a smile, a strong, tan and slender body and my ex-boyfriend says I am an absolute expert at big picture concepts. But I really struggle with the details, being careful. I know it is all very precious, sometimes fragile and temporary and even with that knowledge, without constant reminders, I struggle to move with grace. Maybe I am not the right person to talk about all these deep dark things I need to talk about. But I want us to heal and my mind has been consumed with the stories that my therapist assures me he doesn’t believe are pathologically obsessive.
It might help to share.
A few days ago, I got to spend some time with the twin girls I babysit. I didn’t know I needed to write this post yet and we were packing up to drive to Waimanalo, to meet with some friends of mine. I Haoled Logan in to her car seat and knocked her foot. She sweetly alerted me. “Be careful, I have an owie.”
“Oh, I’m sorry Logan, thank you! Sometimes I need reminders and especially from my friends. You can always remind me to be careful.”