As soon as I heard the sound, I knew. I also didn’t care. The bitch had pissed me off again, and in those days that meant a flurry of tears as I ran away.
I don’t even remember what that particular incident was about; it happened too many times in my year as their nanny. I was used to always turning the other cheek. That’s how I had got by in life for twenty-one years. That’s what I was taught.
I was turning the other cheek so often I was getting whiplash.
This was the woman who taught me that I had to stand up for myself. It was not a kind lesson. It was my own realization that, by constantly turning the other cheek and meekly doing anything anyone asked of me, I was putting myself at risk from those people who would take advantage of my good nature.
So the trim on the garage and the bumper on the car had a… disagreement. I paid for the bumper to get fixed. The dad fixed the garage trim without so much as a dirty look. In fact, he held back his wife from flying at me in yet another harangue.
He understood how she was.
That crashing sound of wood fighting metal was not the defining moment that finally gave me a backbone. It was just the moment I decided that perhaps I should grow one.
This was written for the Write on Edge prompt of flash fiction inspired by the picture-word “Crash.”
The shortlink for this post is http://wp.me/p1qnT4-vg
I love this line: “I was turning the other cheek so often I was getting whiplash.” It sounds like I’m a lot like you – I had a hard time standing up for myself when I was younger and had to learn the hard way to grow a backbone.
“That crashing sound of wood fighting metal was not the defining moment that finally gave me a backbone. It was just the moment I decided that perhaps I should grow one.”
These are great lines: ‘I was turning the other cheek so often I was getting whiplash’ and ‘It was just the moment I decided that perhaps I should grow one’. Brilliant! 🙂
Thanks for visiting!
I love that whiplash line too. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure I read it somewhere… so I can’t really take full credit. But it’s so good it should become colloquial.
It took me too long to grow a backbone too. I’m glad I have one now!!
What is it about the mother-nanny relationship that makes it so volatile? I spent a decade as a nanny, most of it with a woman I liked and respected, but always there’s a thread of tension–and when it’s bad, it’s unbearable.
Glad you found your backbone, or the impetus to find it.
I spent a year in that job, then the Mom had a baby and decided to stay home. I was just as happy to move on! I spent a year with another family, and that time I got along with both parents just fine. You’re right about the ongoing tension, though.
Now, I have a daughter with special needs, and she has a person who is with her the entire school day, and a PCA who spends 20 hours a week with her outside of school. I try to make sure both adults know that I appreciate them and respect them, and I give them as much empowerment as possible.