Tuesday, December 29, 2015

"DAD. I don't WANT any water."

My Christmas was pleasant, so I hate to bring up shit, but... but...

On Christmas Day, which I spent over at my brother's house, my 13-year-old nephew had been feeling sickly for a few hours, missing Christmas dinner. An hour or so later, he was up and about. At which point my brother suggested that he drink some water to help clear out his stomach. A reasonable suggestion. But my nephew felt well unto himself and didn't want any water.

The exchange went on for several go-rounds:

"Drink some water."
"I don't want any water."
"You need to drink some water."
"I don't want any water."
"DAD. I don't WANT any water."

I just happened to break up the exchange at this point, asking what pill the kid had taken earlier to make him feel better, which ended it.

The whole exchange did, though, remind me of something ugly when I was 12.

My parents were watching TV in the living room, and I was watching TV in my bedroom. My dad came in to see what I was doing. I was both watching TV AND writing in my diary.

My dad told me that I couldn't both watch TV and write at the same time. "DAD, I CAN watch TV AND write," I said. "No, you can't," he said. "OK," I said. After he left, I kept the TV on and kept writing.

A few minutes later, he was back. I was still writing AND watching TV. Outraged, he grabbed me by my hair and dragged me down the hallway to the living room.

Listening to my nephew and my brother gave me a hint of this potential for humiliation. It scared me to hear. My dad constantly treated me in an ugly, sadistic way; my brother, as far as I know, has not treated his sons that way. Yet, I heard my brother tending toward that in the way he was talking to his son this time.

I'm glad my nephew stood up to his dad about not wanting any water. I'm glad that I stood up to my dad about being capable of watching TV and writing at the same time. Though being dragged down the hall by my hair afterwards was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life.

My dad visits this blog every day. And so I say to you, Dad: FOR SHAME. Are you proud of how you treated a 12-year-old girl over and over again?

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