As promised I'll share with you this incident that occurred when I was twelve and Cathy was nine.
It was a beautiful day outside and Cathy and I had finished our homework and chores. Mom wouldn't be home for at least another hour so I gave in to Cathy's pleas and let her go over to a neighbor's to hang out. I told her to leave by one of the windows to avoid the prying eyes of our neighbor, Mrs. Maloney. Unfortunately we chose one of the few days that the reclusive woman actually ventured outside and spotted Cathy in the neighbor's yard. I suspect she wasted little time in phoning Mom and starting the conversation with "I'm sorry to disturb you at work but there's something you ought to know…."
Cathy diligently returned home at the appointed time and path and climbed back in through the bedroom window. We had no hint of Mrs.Maloney's sojourn and "discovery" and agreed that if Mom asked if we obeyed the rules we would lie and say that we had.
When Mom returned home, she gave no hint of being wise to anything, so to her casual inquiry on our behavior, I assured her that we had done nothing amiss.
"Oh, really?" she asked rather stiffly. "I want you both over here, right now."
Cathy and I traded worried glances and then quickly complied with her command.
"Now, Janet", she began, "I asked you if you both had been good girls today and you assured me that you had. But I have reason to believe that this may not be exactly true. In fact, I have reason to think that one or both of you disobeyed one of our most important rules. So Janet I will ask you again. Were you and your sister good girls today?"
A knot formed in my stomach. I knew and we were in major trouble.
"N…no Mom", I mumbled, "I wasn't." Her face twisted with anger.
"You lied to me then!" I sheepish nodded. "Please…Mommy …I'm real….really so..so…sorry…"
"Not half as sorry as you're going to be young lady", she hissed. "Now, you tell me exactly what transpired today and don't you dare leave anything out."
In fearful, faltering tones, I confessed to violating the rule about staying in the house and described how I enabled Cathy to visit her friend by helping hr sneak out the window to avoid being seen by Mrs.Maloney. Each detail of my tale of disobedience and deceit was fuel to mother's fury. Still I feared to leave anything out. Then, realizing that I was in so deep anyhow, I refrained from mentioning anything about Cathy's whining and accepted all the blame. I ended by feebly explaining how it was such a beautiful day Cathy seemed so unhappy "that I uh …."
But Mom cut me off. Then, quiet rage evident in her voice, Mom seethed, "so you decided to disobey my rules, sneak your sister out the window, put her in danger and then tell me a boldface lie!"
Sensing what was coming, I started to back away.
"You stop right there", she snarled. "I'll teach you disobey and deceive! Hands behind your back this instant and look up at me!"
My eyes went wet. "No..Mommy …", I begged but my hands obediently crossed in the small of my back and my face tilted up. A salty tear trickled forth and ambled down my left cheek. My eyed widened, as following her dictates, I watched her right hand fly forward to land with shattering force across my now moistened left cheek. I screamed. Fat hot globules filled my brown eyes and immediately streamed forth. How I wanted to reach up and minister to my stinging flesh but aware that would only provoke her, kept my hands clasped and turned my other cheek. Accepting my "invitation" she invoked her left hand and administered another slap, every bit as energetic as the first.
My "nooo….Mommy please …nooooo" ended as a piercing agonized shriek. My whole head rocked back with the force imparted by her stiffened palm and fingers. I sensed the imprint of each of her firm, slender digits seared into my tender skin. Anguished tears rolled freely over my scorched, flushed skin but, bearing its own heat, the viscous liquid provided no relief.
I wanted so badly to reach up and give even the slightest comfort to my stinging cheeks. But with my Mom there is no touching of the punished area until permission is granted. Like your Aunt Ruth, my Mom also punishes for "wandering" hands. Often, as with you, Rachel and Hannah, it's the ruler across the outstretched palm. But here, provocatively posed as I was, Mom would likely slap me again. The glinting fury in her eyes told me that the slapping wasn't over. So, squeezing my intertwined hands in back of me and holding my back ramrod straight, I readied myself physically, if not emotionally, to have my face slapped again. Lying and deliberately disobeying are both offenses for which the commencement of punishment, is often heralded in this manner.
So, guilty of both crimes, I could only pray that my near hysterical reaction to the two thus far would move herto pity. But her command to "get that head up girl!" crushed any such hope. Fiercely blinking I forced myself to look into Mom's eyes. Wathcing them narrow and her lips purse, I mewled a terrified "nooooo …Mommy…..nooooo ……..", ending with a frenzied scream as she slapped me a third, and then a fourth time.
I hope I haven't gone on too long about this first part of my punishment but it's something that I need to get off my chest. You see, this is one area where I don't agree with Mom at all. I think it's unnecessary and I really resent it.
Okay, I'll back up a moment. I'll start off by saying that I don't like any form of physical punishment. It hurts and at my age is also quite embarrassing. However, I understand the need for my Mom to have and employ spanking to help guide and control my sister and me. As a working single parent, Mom can't be there to supervise us and has to rely on us to supervise ourselves. So she gives us strict rules and the assurance that if we break the rules we can expect to be spanked or suffer other, highly unpleasant consequences. So it isn't discipline, punishment or even spanking to which I object. But I do object to having my face slapped. And, as I write to you, I think I've figured out why I feel this way.
While what I feeel most during a spanking is the pain and the humiliation, I cannot deny that I also feel …. secure …..and I know this sill sound really strange ……. But I also feel safe. Yes, even as Mom's whacking my behind with a hairbrush, I don't feel any danger. I don't think that she's going to injure me. I feel confidence that she'll give me what I need and certainly no more than I can take. I think that the physical contact of our bodies conveys this psychological trust. And I think that's why I don't feel resentful. Now when I've done something really bad Mom may make me lie atop my bed and give me the strap. Or, have me cut some switches and bend across a table or desk. Even then I feel secure …and safe. I think it's because I'm being punished on my behind, a part of the body that is endowed with padding, and thus capable of withstanding such treatment. And even when I'm over the desk, I feel Mom's hand atop my back, helping to steady me and helping her guide the hand with the corrective implement. Laying across my bed, it's the safety and security of my covers, my pillow and the familiar surface that makesme feel reassured.
None of these sources of comfort are present in a face slapping. There are no touches of gentility to mitigate the harsh hand exploding upon a tender cheek, causing it to instantly flame and swell. And there's no expression of regret or tone of compassion; just harsh invective and a face hardened into a mask of cold fury. Add to that the terror of seeing the approaching hand in agonizing detail and the very real possibility of a misdirected blow and I think you can understand my issue with this.
You're probably going to ask me if I've discussed this with Mom and the answer is yes. But, now that I've just written it down I realize that I've never explained it to her in these terms. I think I'll try again. Mom is strict but she's loving and respectful and always allows us to express our thoughts and feelings. I think if she realizes just how terrified I become she might reconsider. I can only try …and hope.
Please forgive my digression. But it's so helpful to have someone my age to confide in and share my feelings. I can, and do, talk with my sister, but she's younger and doesn't always understand my feelings. You are a bright, sensitive and articulate girl who I feel is becoming the sister of my soul.
At any rate, as you can well imagine, those slaps were merely the tipof the iceberg. I will give you the details of my ordeal which included three corporal punishments, a mouth soaping and an extensive and severe grounding.