Monday, August 08, 2005

The Slap

Just 9 days ago we were winding up our beach vacation with friends when an incident occurred that shook me to the core. Our (not anymore) adult male friend, Jimmy, slapped my 5 year old son across the face, HARD, in front of a multitude of people. The circumstances are of no matter, as he could never justify his impulsive behavior to me. I was shocked, horrified and scared of this man. After uttering a stern "You do not hit my child" to my defiant 'friend', I scooped up my son and headed outside to escape. I was so angry I couldn't even comfort my child. I put him in the van and walked towards the garbage.

When I looked up there was Jimmy asking my son if he could talk to him.
Son, who was still crying, slammed the van door to his request. (Way to go son, I couldn't have said it better myself.) He then turned to me and asked if he could talk to me. I told him I just couldn't that I was too angry and that what he had done to my child was 'unacceptable'. His chilling response stung more than the slap, "You're right, your son's behavior is unacceptable". I was stunned. Speechless, which was good as I couldn't say anything that I would regret later. Shocked that he couldn't take responsibility for his actions, that it was a five year olds fault.

Yes, there was some history there between my son and his, who considered themselves best friends. But they also knew how to push each other's buttons, as five year olds do. And my son did hit his son earlier in the week, maybe Jimmy thought he was giving my son a taste of his own medicine. The difference is, my son is five with impulse control issues and Jimmy is 39 with the same issue. Who has the problem here?

Sadly, it's a friendship that is busted, forever scarred. I'd love to remain friends with his wife, but I'm not that hopeful. I'm afraid for her safety now. If he can't control his impulses in front of all of us, what is he doing behind closed doors?

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