Category Archives: Childhood

The consequences of telling the truth

My parents never believed in corporal punishment, and usually my biggest misdeeds were met with a time-out, and later on in life, a grounding. There was one time, however, I received the classic parental discipline. A spanking.

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I believe that there is something to be said about having a two parent household. When one parent is having a bad day or over-reacting, the other can step in to even out the situation. And while I believe my mother did a supremely excellent job of being a single parent, there have been one or two times I wish she had had another voice beside her. This is the story of one of those times.

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We were living in Wyoming, and my mom decided to let my sister and me turn one of the rooms in our house and in the basement into a playroom. We are artistic types, so my mom bought a bunch of paint and let us go nuts and paint the walls. We ended up with a fantastic mural, there was an Ariel, a Prince Phillip, and even a Maleficent-turned-dragon. My then 7 year old sister painted a monkey with pink overalls in one of the trees.

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My sister’s monkey was a much lighter color and smiled.

One day I came down to inspect our work and I saw that the light switch cover had been taken off and painted pink. It was on a piece of plastic on the floor and I noticed that some of the paint had pooled and created a puddle on the side. Thinking I could rip it off and even it out, I unpeeled the fixture from the plastic and ripped off the puddle. Unfortunately, semi-dry paint doesn’t work that way and the paint ripped off a little into the plate as well.

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I spent the next 20 or so minutes trying to even out the paint on the edges, and eventually I gave it up as a los, peeled the paint from the whole cover, and left it back on the plastic sheet. I did not realize then, how great my mistake would be.

Several hours later, my mom came home from work. I was chilling in my bedroom when I heard her stomping down the hall towards my room and then my bedroom door shook with a deafening knock. BOOM BOOM BOOM

I reluctantly answered the door. “Yes, Mom?”

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She held up the paint-free light cover in her hands. “DID YOU DO THIS?!”

My eyes got wide with fear from her unanticipated rage. I hesitated.

“DID YOU DO THIS?!!”

My voice was small and plaintive. “No, mom.”

“You Didn’t Do This?”

“No, mom.”

I watched her march down the hall and pound on my sister’s door. I closed my door but just for a crack and watched the scene unfold. Claire opened the door with trepidation.

“Did You Do This?!” My mom held up the light switch cover in front of my sister’s face.

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Why?

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Mama.” Claire replied.

“I KNOW you did this! Your sister said she didn’t do this and your sister NEVER LIES!”

I saw my sister break into tears as my mom grabbed her hand and led her to the basement. At this point, my feelings of guilt started to seep in. As annoying and invasive of my private life as my sister had become, she was still the biggest friend I had and I was tormented with the idea that she would receive the punishment I so rightfully deserved.

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Which one of you did this?

I stealthily followed them into the basement and cautiously stayed around the corner of the stairs while I listened to their arguments of accusal and denial. I was so scared of my mom’s wrath that I was determined to stick to my story until I heard that she was about to do something she had never done before. Spank my sister.

“Five spanks because you did this! Five MORE because you are lying about it!” I heard my mom yell.

My sister’s cries of innocence were too much more than I could handle. I was suddenly transformed into George Washington. About to confess to his father that he in fact, did, cut down that cherry tree.

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I ran out into the room and screamed, “No, Mom, don’t!”

Confused, and with her hand raised about to spank my sister she turned to me and asked why.

“It was I.” I confessed.

At this point I was so upset with my sister’s potential first spanking, and was so overwrought with guilt that I burst into tears.

“I was the one who took the paint off the thingy,” I sobbed. “It wasn’t Claire. She knew nothing about it.”

My mother looked at me, bewildered. I pleaded with her.

“It was I! I took the paint off. I didn’t mean to, it just kind of… happened.” I looked at my sister with regret and humiliation.

“I’m so sorry, Claire.” I cried.

“It’s okay,” she answered with tear soaked eyes.

My mother, unaware of what to do, and the rage she felt before evaporating, decided that my punishment should be the original five spanks, with two less because I told the “ABSOLUTE” truth. I was spanked three times, though I think my mom used less force than she should have.

I think now that I could have gotten away with it, but sisterly love is more important than a spanking.

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I will always love you.

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