There isn’t much combat around here. You know – arguing, yelling, or physical fighting. We put the kibosh on it when the kids were toddlers, encouraging them to “use your words”. But last night my girls were screaming – at each other! A first in our family.
Mark, who only had sisters, was present and took care of it. I was dealing with a contract. He was grinning about it saying “this is what you get with girls”. I wasn’t buying it. Of course, I’d had the opposite experience from Mark. I grew up with a cache of brothers. They literally threw each other around and through things – like walls, windows. You get the idea…
Josi was a mess. My daughter, who never shows emotion, came through the family room chanting the “s” word (stupid) loud enough for me to hear and with a ton of feeling laced through each utterance. That’s what we call it around here, because it’s not to be said to anyone or about anyone. We consider it a mighty “putdown”. I stopped her and questioned her about it. She tried to turn away. I walked to her and told her to face me. The tears were welled up in her eyes, just beginning to spill down her lovely cheeks. My heart began to rip open. She was really hurting; I could read it in her body language and in her eyes. I began to hurt as well.
Although Mark said he had taken care of it, the largest issue had been overlooked. Josi had been deliberately set up by Aubry to spill something in their bedroom. When Josi did indeed spill it, Aubry nailed her for it. She told Josi that she knew she would spill it. She had placed it on the floor where it was likely to happen.
That’s where the hurt came in, the pain of being stung by someone you love and trust. Aubry had set out to be cruel to her sister. Sure, Josi was mad. But her reaction was from being betrayed. I asked Josi about being emotionally hurt and her tears came faster, a sure sign that I’d gotten to the core of what she was feeling.
I deliberated briefly with my conscious, carefully watching and listening to both of my daughters over the next minutes, and decided upon Aubry’s punishment. After repeatedly denying that she deliberately set her sister up to fail, she admitted that she might have done so.
I explained cruelty to Aubry and Josi. I also touched on grace and forgiveness. In the end, we are family. And they are sisters, bonded by love and connection.