Yes, I know, it's been a month since I've posted anything. Not merely a month, but a very busy month, filled with exciting newsworthy things like running races, camping, cliff-jumping, finishing the homeschool year, planting a little tiny veggie garden, and sending everyone away so I can have a solitary week.
This is not, however, what I'm coming 'round to write about tonight.
In order for the following to make sense, however, I ought to mention that last point. Erin left Saturday morning, joining a group of girls from church for a week of assisting a small OPC church in Vermont with their VBS. Jim and Isaac left Sunday morning with the Scout Troop to go to Virginia for a week-long summer camp toward which Isaac has been looking with eager anticipation all year. This has left me home all by myself.
Let me repeat that.
Enough of that- here's what I want to say. Because I'm home all by myself and have the freedom to pick up and go do things of my own choosing in my own timing, I went out this morning to see a friend on the other side of town. On the way home from seeing my friend I spontaneously stopped in at a gardening center which I've never visited, being keenly aware of a pot or two of pathetic flowers on the back porch which need sprucing up. I love walking through greenhouses, so full of life and color and earthy- living- smells.
After much lovely dithering, I chose a couple of plants to bring home and attempt not to kill, and found my way past all of the gardening gadgets to the cashier inside. There were two ladies in front of me and I soon figured out that they were a mother and daughter, with daughter's children.
It was getting on to lunchtime and not only was my tummy beginning to growl, but the children were evidently quite finished with this whole "shopping for flowers" thing, and they were making their displeasure known. Now, I can remember back to the days of multiple bored and hungry kids hanging from the shopping basket and whining about wanting to "Gooooo right now Mommy, why can't we just goooo?!" Nobody enjoys that, not the Mommy, not the Grandma, not the people in line behind.
But I was about knocked over when Momma responded back to her tired child with a snarl through gritted teeth. I can't even remember her words, her face and tone are all that stick with me. Such malevolence directed at her child was shocking. When she handed her son off to Grandma's basket I thought, well, here's some relief for him.
And I was wrong.
Grandma, as her grandson reached over to touch the petunias she'd just purchased, told him in no uncertain terms that she'd, "Break your arm" if he continued to misbehave. And just in case he hadn't gotten the point, I heard her repeat that very same threat when they were in the parking lot after I'd finished my purchase.
Who in their right mind tells their child that they'll "break their arm"?! Now, I witnessed no physical violence; Grandma didn't roll up her sleeves to proceed with carrying out her threat. I'm pretty sure that she'd never intentionally set out to do so, at least, not in public. But those words...
Words do have power to hurt and leave scars as can few physical acts of violence. Those children may be used to hearing such hateful things directed at them from their family, but I had my breath knocked out of me.
Oh Lord, have mercy, please.