Friday, November 30, 2012

What They Don't Know WILL Hurt Them

The other day, I was talking to my Daddy about the trips he used to take to Northern California. He went up every summer for a few years, and I believe he was pretty popular, because he knew people who could supply marijuana to him. It was the seventies, after all, and he was never without company. At thirteen (if I heard him right), he had more suppliers than most grown adults. Our conversation hit a bit of a wall there for a second... it was kind of a shock to me that he would have such exposure to drugs, especially at the young age of thirteen. Not that I thought he had an innocent life growing up... I just didn't realize it happened to him so young.

Then I started to talk to him about the trips I'd taken up North. Thinking I'd already told my father about it, I abruptly said, "Yeah, at that seminar thing you sent me to for a week, some dude put his hand down my pants."

"What?" my dad said. It was clear he was holding it in... under that "What?", a "WHAT???!!!" was dying to come out.

"Yeah... I was just sitting and talking to him, with a pillow in my lap, and he stuck his hand down my pants."

"What'd you do?"

"I was in shock. I was embarrassed. I thought, 'How did I ever give this guy the idea this would be OK?' so I froze. Finally he said, 'So, how do you feel right now?' and I said, 'I....'m feelin' pretty uncomfortable right about now.' so he took his hand away... and I got up and moved away from him."

The look on my Dad's face said that he wanted justice served. "Did you tell anyone?"

"No... I was embarrassed, I felt ashamed."

 My Dad looked so hurt... like I'd just ripped his heart out. Or at least, that's how it felt to me. "That's what they do, honey... they make you feel like you did something wrong."

"You know what made it even worse, dad? His first name was the same as yours."

I could tell my Dad wished he were there to protect me. He probably thought, in that moment, that he shouldn't have sent me on that trip. I felt awful for not telling him sooner, and apologized to him. "It's OK.. I just wish I'd known." he said.

I wish he'd known, too. It seemed a weird thing to tell my parents about at the time, but when I finally did tell him, I wanted to dig out his information (we got a packet with everyone's addresses on it afterward) just so my dad could get some kind of closure on it. So we both could. Plus, it woulda been great to hear my Daddy givin' a kid a hard time over the phone, or even better - drivin' up to punch him in the face. haha. Just sayin'...

I mean, don't get me wrong: it didn't scar me or anything. It was an almost-isolated incident. There was something similar that happened earlier that week and freaked me out more... although it was a lesser issue. We were doing a "trust-building exercise" (oh, the irony!), with everyone crowded around, and someone kept touching me. I had NO idea who it was because I was surrounded by people... THAT freaked me out. And again, I was too chicken to tell anyone. I'm sure it was the same kid who (what do you call it? molested?) me, now that it happened.

Now that I'm a mom, I wonder if anything like this will ever happen with my own kids. I pray not... it's unbearable to think about. I hope that they would have the confidence in themselves to know that they are not at fault, and that they can (and SHOULD) come to their parents. What I don't know WILL hurt me... I'd be fooling myself to think they'll tell me everything, yet at the same time: oh, how I wish they would!

Have you ever kept something from someone for years, and then revealed it to them? How did they react? Do you wish you'd told them sooner?

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