Polite little girl…memories 

A memory from my childhood 

I walked out the back door and over to my mother who was working in the vegetable garden. The sun was so bright, I could bearly see her. I had one barefoot on the railroad tie, and the other draped over the grass, I stared at my foot as it swung back and forth “Mom…this boy in school, he calls me stupid” I admitted, with great embarrassment. My mother stopped, and looked up at me. Was she displeased? I was sure I had said something wrong, and needed to fix it, quick! “But, I think he must be really sad inside, to make fun of me all the time…you know?” My mother smiled, obviously delighted with the wisdom of her small child. “Yes!” she said “that is why people make fun of each other” then she happily returned to her garden, pressing her foot into the shovel, and working the earth. 

This is my first memory of excusing someone else’s unkind behavior for their sake. Politeness and putting the desires of others above my own, were praised highly as a child in my family. 

When I think back to these memories from my childhood, I better understand many of the anxieties that I still carry with me today.  

Politeness is darling, but standing up for yourself is a necessity. Finding the middle road between those two things is such a challenge. 

 Maybe someday, I’ll write about the time I said the F word on Christmas. Yes, balancing politeness and standing up for myself has certainly always been a challenge in my life. 


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