There are lots of memories from my childhood that have impacted my life, but one in particular that really changed things around for me was the very last time my mother hit me. I can remember it vividly, I was either preteen or early teen, so 12 or 13. I remember we had a phone in the kitchen (it was really hanging on the doorway between the living room and kitchen but on the kitchen side). It was the "new" phone, a tan color and had the push buttons on it. The "old" phone was a teal color and matched the tile color of our kitchen, it was a rotary dial phone and my mother was so mad when the phone company made her switch. Of course this "new" phone did not match the kitchen and was not available in teal. This "new" phone had a long cord, also a new feature, so it would reach the top of the stairs (which were also between the kitchen and living room). It would not reach into our bedrooms at the top of the stairs, but you could sit on the very top step and have a semi-private conversation. Much better than sitting in the kitchen.
I remember one day walking into the kitchen and I was loud, I was yelling for my mom for something, I wasn't upset or angry or anything. It was just kind of matter of fact, but loud so she could hear me from anywhere in our tiny house. She stood up. She was sitting on the bottom of the stairs talking on the phone, so I couldn't see her past the half wall that divided our kitchen from the living room, until she actually stood up.
She was instantly mad, as she was talking on the phone and I was loud. So as I walked toward her, toward the stairs she smacked me on the arm, it was just the closest thing she could reach, but she raised her hand to hit me again. She was still on the phone. I remember not really yelling but saying "ouch" like a kid would do and then starting to cry. As she raised her hand again I remember a cry came out of my mouth, which (from the look on her face) made her more angry. I think it was the fact that she was on the phone and whoever was on the other end of the line could hear me and what was going on. Maybe a little embarrassment, I don't know. But she hit me again. I ran up the stairs and she, still on the phone, chased me up the stairs with her hand raised, hitting me maybe once or twice more before we reached the top of the stairs.
At the top of our stairs was a small landing, to the right was my brother's closed bedroom door, to the left was my closed bedroom door, and straight back from the top of the stairs was a small closet, with the door locked. I just scooted down on my butt cowering in the right, back corner, with my knees in front of my chest and my arms wrapped around my knees. I was crying, and she could not reach me. The phone cord was just a foot too short to reach me and still be on the phone.
From here she went back down stairs, still talking on the phone, and I went into my room. Neither of us ever spoke of this incident again. I don't know who was on the phone, I think it was her best friend. I don't know what she was thinking or feeling, and she never asked me about anything to do with that incident. But it was the very last time my mom hit me.
It changed my whole life. I wasn't even thinking about having children at that moment in time, but when the time came, when I met Jackson, that is when the impact was truly visualized. I remember talking to Jackson, before we married, about children and raising children. I knew I did not want to raise my children in an environment where they were afraid, I did not want punishments to be a part of our world, I knew I would never hit/spank/slap/shake (whatever you choose to call it) my children....ever. I remember that moment so vividly, as well as other times she spanked me, and I did NOT want my children to have those kinds of memories.
My parenting style developed over the years but it started in that very moment, even though I didn't realize it at the time. That memory has a HUGE impact on my life today, on the decisions I made and continue to make. It is a memory I share with others who do spank, the memory I carry with me daily of being hit as a child.
This a cooperative blogging post so if you would like to read my friend's, Nancy's, answer please visit her blog, A Present Moment.