I have been anxiously awaiting the warm weather which has finally graced us with its presence. I am in a new home for this particular season and this new home has a pool. Granted, I have to share this pool with every other resident of the community but it is still mine and I am going to use it as much as possible, neighbors be damned.
I woke up on Saturday and ripped open the curtains to find gorgeous sunshine waiting to cancerize my skin cells. I was elated. I threw on a swimsuit, filled a cooler up with beer and made my way outside to my happy place. Only once I got closer did I realize that I would be sharing the pool with my nemesis, the redneck. Extra bonus for me! Redneck children accompanied her.
I claimed a chair on the other side of the pool, trying hard not to make eye contact. I poured a beer, plugged in the ipod and settled in for a day of baking. All was well for about fifteen minutes until I heard the yelling. I opened my eyes and removed one earbud just in time to see the redneck yanking her barely walking toddler out of a chair by one arm, screaming obscenities at him while I looked on in horror. She glanced at me quickly but I was able to look away just in time.
This cycle continued for about two hours. Child would play. Child would do something redneck wouldn’t like. Child would get ripped off the ground by a limb. Child would be scolded, sometimes spanked. Repeat.
I was most certainly uncomfortable but, even though I thought the child’s behavior may not have warranted her reaction, her reaction was also not harsh enough to warrant me standing up and saying something. That changed, however, the next time the child crawled up on the chair he wasn’t supposed to be on. The mother ran over, spanked the child hard on the butt and screamed ‘I’m gonna get my belt if you don’t stop this shit!’
I sat in absolute horror, unable to contain my disdain for this person who called herself a mother. I do not have a problem with spanking. I believe that is up to each parent. I was spanked and do not hate my parents for it. However, when you start bringing objects into the spanking and using the term ‘beat’ which this particular ‘mother’ used repeatedly, then I have an issue. The mother and children quickly left the pool after this particular incident. I believe she could feel the tension mounting as everyone at the pool was now staring at her with daggers in their murderous eyes, waiting for her to cross that line she had been so carefully toeing all afternoon.
I didn’t see her for the rest of the day, nor the next day. Do I believe she abuses her children? I honestly have no idea. However, considering what she deemed to be okay public behavior, it horrifies me to think about what she does behind closed doors.
When is it okay to say something to someone who may be crossing a line with their child?
Are you okay with spanking? Were you spanked as a child?
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I came to my new home only a few weeks ago; only it doesn’t feel like a home. Though, what do I know? I’ve never really had one. The humans are nice enough. They feed me and take me on walks. Unfortunately, there are so many others like me here so I don’t get very much attention.
Then, at the end of the day, the humans go away and we’re all alone. The others like me are so loud and I just want a quiet place to sleep. Eventually, the humans come back the next day and we start the process all over again.
Some of the others like me get taken away and never come back. They’re the lucky ones. It happened to me once but I got scared when the human left and did something she didn’t like. She brought me back to this place and I haven’t seen her since. I just needed some time to adjust. I guess she didn’t understand.
I’ve heard a few humans say they don’t like me because of what I am. They talk about ‘dog fighting’ and ‘aggression’, whatever that means. One time, someone even called me dangerous! They obviously don’t know me. Given the opportunity, I would just like to curl up in your lap for the rest of my life. I don’t want to hurt anyone. I even like other dogs! However, I don’t like cats, but really, who does?!
No, I’m not dangerous at all. I just wish someone would give me a chance so I could prove it to them. I’m getting older with each passing day (I’m almost 2 years old!) and there is a rumor going around here that people don’t take home the older dogs. I hope it isn’t true. I may not be a cute, little puppy but I can make up for it in other ways! For instance, I’m already house trained so no accidents! That has to be a huge plus, I’m sure. I’m also great at giving sloppy kisses and I love going on long walks so I’ll help you keep that New Year’s resolution!
Someday, someone will see that I’m good and not ‘dangerous’, right? The humans here have been nothing but good to me but I’m ready to have a real home; a place where I can be with a family who loves me and who I can love in return. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. Do you? It’s all I’ve ever really wanted in my short two years on this earth. Can you give me that home? Do you know someone who can?
You know where to find me …
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I should be in nothing but utter heaven right now. I’m spending a week in the beautiful Sammamish, Washington with my mom, my sister, my two nieces and my brother-in-law. I haven’t seen my nieces in over a year; my brother-in-law in over three. It is amazing, yet depressing, how time can fly by.
I should be nothing but happy. I am to a point, but I am also sad. The changes in my nieces are drastic and startling. How can they change so much in such a short period of time? They have gone from barely speaking, shy little girls to bursting balls of energy who never stop talking and always want to play. It amazes me how much their individual personalities are shining through, each one unique and wonderful in its own way.
I’ve had this same feeling before. It hasn’t been on any of my birthdays, friend’s weddings or the births of my friend’s children. Those never seem to bother me. They never seem to make me think of my age. It was when my little cousin got his driver’s license. That was a devastating moment. I had held him when he was born and babysat him and his brother when they were toddlers. How was he driving already? The next thing I knew, he’d be going off to college and getting drunk and married (hopefully not at the same time).
I’m excited to see these changes. I can relate a lot more to a toddler rather than a blob that just lies on the couch and sleeps (can you tell I don’t have children?). But seeing them grow up so fast is solely a constant reminder of how quickly life can pass us by. Hell, 2013 is already a third of the way over and yet I remember popping bottles on New Year’s Eve as if it were yesterday. Days keep passing me by and I feel as if I have nothing to show for them. I want to start appreciating my days more. I don’t want to waste any either. I have spent too many days wasting away on the couch on a beautiful day. Too many times have I canceled plans just for being tired when I could easily have bucked up to face the day.
I want to spend more time with my family and friends, the people who I care about the most, the ones who matter. I have let years pass before seeing someone I care about. While I don’t want this to happen again, I know that I won’t always keep this promise. I know that there will easily be times where years will pass before seeing someone I love. There is always something hiding in the wings, waiting to get in the way of your life, whether it be work, work, or more work. I love my job but I need to stop worrying about taking time off and just do it. My job will always be there when I get back.
I don’t want to miss out on milestones and I shouldn’t have to. Otherwise, before I know it, it will be my nieces getting driver’s licenses and you can find me in the looney bin.
Worry. It consumes me at almost all times. I don’t want it to but I don’t know how to stop it either. The email had sat in my inbox for months. The email that I knew I needed to reply to and yet I never seemed to know what to say. Deciding to take a break from something you love is hard enough but running the risk of simultaneously disappointing people you care about can take you to the breaking point.
I worry about a lot of things: work, my relationship, my friends and family. I keep a busy life to help me with this worry. The way I see it, if I don’t have time to worry, then I won’t. Writing has helped immensely; not only keeping me busy but allowing me to vent this worry to the world. A main outlet has also been dance. Dance has brought some stress, but little worry, to my life. The happiness it gives me more than makes up for any stressful nights and I had suddenly decided to take a break from it. Was I crazy?
The worry I felt every time I opened my inbox was becoming tiresome. I had known people to take breaks from dance but had never returned. That wasn’t me. I know I’ll return in the Fall. I have to return in order to keep my sanity. The problem here was my worry that they wouldn’t understand; that they would be disappointed or feel a lack of commitment that I couldn’t make it the whole year. I didn’t want to come back in the Fall wondering if they thought I was the slacker that I felt I was. Seem irrational? Perhaps. How was I to know? I’m a worrier.
These people are not just fellow dancers to me. They are my friends and my family; a new family that I have created over the past two years. You never want to disappoint your family. It is one of my biggest fears. So I sat on the email for months, drafting, deleting, re-drafting, etc. It never came out right. Then, it happened.
I don’t know how and I don’t why. I stopped worrying. I like to think that maybe Bobby McFerrin came to me in a dream and sang me a little diddy. Maybe it was my writing. Whatever it was, I knew I had to stop. I found a great quote today that stated, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its troubles; it empties today of its strength” (Corrie ten Boom). I stopped worrying for ten minutes to write the email I had been attempting to draft for months and finally hit send.
Some things in life deserve worry but it shouldn’t consume your being like it has with me. A lot of worry only happens because you care. I cared about these people so much and I couldn’t bear the thought of being any sort of disappointment to them. The funny thing is, when it comes to people who care about each other, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
Don’t worry … Be happy
In every life we have some trouble
But when you worry you make it double
Don’t worry … Be happy