I've written previously about "The Slap", where a "friend" slapped my five year old across the face. I haven't heard from this man or his wife, Charlotte, since it all happened. Luckily, they live in another state, so we don't have to interact with one another.
But Charlotte called me last week and although we tried to avoid the subject, it wormed it's way in. So I told her that I was concerned for her and the children. If Jimmy can hit someone else's child, what is he doing to you and the kids? It's not a big leap to go there. Her answer, which seemed rehearsed, was that he had never hit her and in fact she was the one who spanked more. ( I just don't get spanking. How in the world are you supposed to teach your child not to hit, when you hit? - but that's another blog).
Anyway, Charlotte had said that Jimmy had tried to call several times to apologize but didn't reach me. Ok, we have caller ID. He called once. But it doesn't matter, as I wouldn't have spoken to him. She said he still wanted to call and asked would it be ok. I told her yes but after thinking about it I couldn't stand the thought of it, so I wrote him a letter. I ran it by my friend, Amy, who said I was too nice and that I should sit on it for a few days before sending. So I will "sit" it here. I edited the "nice".
I felt like I was moving past the violent beach incident until I talked to Charlotte. She said that you still intended to call me which I thought would be fine but I find that thinking about the incident again and anticipating talking with you has caused anxiety so I will write down what I would like to say and then I think I can move on.
I know that you have apologized to Jamie for hitting Jack and I believe that you are sorry. What stung more than slapping Jack was your indignant behavior and self- righteous comment after it happened. We left the house because I was frightened of you. You had just slapped my child across the face, hard, and moments later, when I couldn't talk to you, you took a verbal shot at me. You were justifying your behavior; something for which I could press charges. I was stunned, angry and deeply hurt.
I know that your behavior is not defined by this one incident, but unfortunately for us all, it has defined your relationship with me and my family. As difficult as I believe it is for you to focus past Jack's negative behavior, it is exponentially difficult for us to focus past yours.
I know that it is something that I can forgive but I can't forget it. In some ways I wish I could as I would hate to loose Charlotte as a friend; but I just won't get over it. This whole thing has made me sick for weeks. In the end, as terrible as it all is, I have learned and grown in a positive way from it all. And Jack has learned that some people hit back. I had hoped he would learn this from someone his age, but, sadly, he didn't. And even more sad, he has never received an apology from you.
From Kahlil Gibran's , The Prophet
Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow
And he answered:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was often times filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes you spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous,
look deep into your heart and you shall find
it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful
look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth,
you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay sorrow is the greater."
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at you board, remember that the other is asleep upon you bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between you sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weight his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.