This week's prompt, from Angela and Galit, asked us to write a post that either starts or ends with the words "Lesson learned."
I’m ashamed to admit that the following is a true story- though the names are not:
Lesson learned: I ain’t ever gonna get almost arrested again!
My nephew (Anthony) was 4 and his big sister (Marie) was 10. Their mother Lynn, my ex-SIL, wanted out of her marriage to my brother so packed up her bags and left my brother and her kids behind. I was there the day she said goodbye and let me just say that it’s a moment I never ever want to relive. The tears by everyone involved… the shrieking by the kids. It’s just not something my heart could ever bear witnessing again.
Lynn picked up the kids every other weekend for the night and returned them the next day… except for the day when she only returned one child: Anthony (my brother is not Marie’s biological father).
Marie was nowhere to be seen.
As Anthony entered the house, Lynn was asking for more of Marie’s stuff, telling Brother that Marie didn’t want to come back.
Brother slammed the door in her face.
Lynn screamed and cussed through the door.
Anthony, standing behind Brother inside, screamed and cried for Marie.
More screaming and cussing from outside.
Brother yelled up to me in the kitchen to call the police.
More screaming and cussing now directed at me.
I had enough of the screaming and cussing being done over Anthony’s screaming and crying, so I flew down the hall, down the stairs, past Anthony and Brother and into the driveway to confront Lynn. We started cussing each other out and soon started shoving one another. She grabbed my hair and wouldn’t let go so I pummelled her until stunned by the presence of little Marie standing right next to us, uncontrollably sobbing and screaming for us to stop.
I instantly pulled back and told Lynn to stop. She tried coming back toward me but I kept backing away and telling her that she needed to stop because of Marie. The police appeared and separated us and took our stories and asked if charges wanted to be filed.
HELL FUCKING YES, I screamed on the inside. “No,” is what came out as my eyes fell upon Marie still hysterically sobbing by her mommy’s side. “Not unless she does.”
Lynn didn’t either. The police threatened to call Child Protective Services.
I was mortified by my actions…. mortified that a mother could keep one child and return another… mortified that a child saw us fighting. I always felt that kids knew more than adults gave them credit for and I always said I wouldn’t pretend they didn’t, and yet here I was acting like a friggin caged animal set free, not even giving a second thought to what Anthony or Marie might witness.
Never again will I chip away at a child’s innocence in that fashion.
Editor's Note: Marie is now in her mid-20's with a little boy six months older than my Lovie. We lost contact for several years after this all went down but now communicate via Facebook. Anthony is 19 and a HS drop-out who's gotten into a bit of trouble the past several years- mainly because his dad, aka Brother, no longer has anything to do with him and his mother doesn't parent. That's all I can say about any of that as that's their story to share, not mine. Anthony and I do still have an extremely close relationship (I helped raise him for several years after this incident); he's the reason I wanted a child of my own.