My mother, however, found Grandma’s definition of everything as being God’s holy will to be yet another justification for her own bitterness. As far as she was concerned, Grandma’s refusal to deal realistically with the hardships placed before her was a sign of a delusional mind. My mother would often yell sarcastically at my grandmother, “If the damned house caught on fire, you’d be more likely sit in the middle of it and pray than call the fire department!”
Archives for July 2013
As she stitched together my latest rescued doll, she began to tell me the story I had heard so many times before. From the soft look in her hazel-colored eyes, I understood that the recitation itself imparted a sense of peace to her. Our tiny bedroom held such a serene feeling of calm when she was about to retell this story. Sitting cross-legged on my bed, holding one of my many repaired dolls, I gently rocked us. Barely restraining my anticipation, I urged my grandmother to begin.
After sprinkling me with holy water to ward off evil influences, grandma would sometimes light another cigarette and sit beside me while I fell asleep, which I always pretended to do. Then she would begin the ritual that meant so much to my child’s heart. I peeked out of the covers to watch. First, she opened her Bible and read a few verses by the light of her Lady of Fatima night-light. Next, she pulled the tight rubber band from her bun and allowed her hair to fall along her weary neck. Standing erect,she relaxed her shoulders, marked with indents from her 32-DDD bra. That was a lot of bosom for someone who stood no taller than five feet on her tip-toes, but to me she was perfect: she was my grandmother.
Child Sexual Abuse Fact Sheet (Child Sexual Abuse Committee of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. http://www.NCTSN.org)
What is child sexual abuse?
Child sexual abuse is any interaction between a child and an adult (or another child) in which the child is used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or an observer. Sexual abuse can include both touching and non-touching behaviors. Touching behaviors may involve touching of the vagina, penis, breasts or buttocks, oral-genital contact, or sexual intercourse. Non-touching behaviors can include voyeurism (trying to look at a child’s naked body), exhibitionism, or exposing the child to pornography.
Mr. and Mrs. Kelly, an elderly couple, lived two doors away from us. Mrs. Kelly was always kind to me. She freely offered fruit from her trees and fresh-baked peanut butter cookies with a glass of lemonade. Unlike my home, theirs was sunny, clean, and smelled like lavender soap. I was delighted to even set foot in their home, because no other neighbor ever invited me in. Mrs. Kelly even allowed me to sit on their furniture, albeit while it was covered in plastic. Mr. Kelly would show me his coin collection and give me long hugs. I didn’t like the hugging part; somehow it always felt creepy, though I didn’t know why.