I came back screaming my lungs out. I was limping; the pain was unbearable. When I got to her, she grabbed my leg and ‘mercilessly’ yanked the stick from the skin on my toe. Then with the same measure of irritation, pushed me aside and went about her business like nothing had happened.
I don’t recall my reaction aside from the shock and disbelief at her actions. I must have quietly stopped crying... eventually. That was my mother for you. Never too bothered by trivial matters.
Before you judge her and want to call child support on her, let me clarify a few issues. It had been a hot afternoon and yours truly who always played until the chicken came home, had ‘escaped’ from the house to go and play instead of ‘sleeping in the afternoon’ like we normally called it.
Oh! How I hated to sleep in the afternoon and yet now, I often wish I could regularly nap in the afternoon.
My ‘escape’ had gone well save for the minor accident as I enjoyed the pleasures of playing in the woods! The accident involved a little stick digging into the skin of my toe the way a needle runs through cloth.
When I came home yelling, perhaps all mother saw was my annoying habit of being out of the house when I should have been resting. And yes, my toe was fine, almost immediately.
Looking at the children now, I recall the methods by which mother raised us and I endeavour to be the same tough cookie. I know sometimes it calls for looking the other way in order that a child might grow out of a certain silliness or complacency.
Sometimes I have to grab a foot and massage it firmly with pain ointment. Often a mother has to grab a child and force them to swallow a herb. There were many times when I wondered if mother was truly my mother and perhaps my own wonder whether I am truly theirs. I mean which mother looks away when a child is experiencing pain, any pain?
And yet Mother taught me that there’s a love which cripples and that that isn’t love actually.
To discipline a child is to love them and that discipline may involve inducing pain. The heart of a father or mother is a heart that sees beyond pain or pleasure. My mother disciplined me for eternity and I too discipline for eternity.
Many times I offer a hug and and a huge smile. But other times my love is in a strict rod or a cold shower on a rainy day.