My mom wasn’t very tolerant of me and my sisters treating each other poorly. We never had the chance to get into big fights because if my mom heard one whisper of pinching, biting, pulling hair, name calling, or dirty looks going on, she’d whip us into shape pretty quickly.
One of my least favorite consequences for this type of behavior was to write sentences. Yes, I love to write, but I love to write what I WANT to write. Writing sentences was awful. She’d sit us down at the table with a pencil and notebook and order us to write, “I love my sister, and I will treat her with respect,” 500 times. Without taking a break. The monotony was awful, but the actual content of the sentence was worse. Who wants to write about love and respect 500 times after getting into an epic battle over skates or Barbies with one of your arch enemies (AKA sisters)? Not me. But I did it anyway because my mom was in charge. That was not up for debate.
In retrospect, I’m grateful for her diligence in emphasizing the value of loving family members unconditionally. While every child makes her own choices once she reaches a certain age, I did hold on to many of the things my mom instilled in me. I feel fiercely defensive of my family members, whether I agree with their personal choices and lifestyles or not. I pray for them continually. I truly believe there are no cuter munchkins on the face of the planet than my nieces and nephews. I look forward to the times when our family is together and savor memories of shared laughter, conversation, and meals.
Even though I logged many a mention of “hating my mom!” in my middle school diary, I now love her for the same things that led me to despise her then. Something must have clicked in me after writing all those sentences.