One of the most aggravatingly wonderful things about being a mother is that you have the opportunity to eat every word you’ve ever spoken ... or thought ... or typed. I’m not kidding. Every single word. I can still vividly remember sitting in the backseat of my mother’s 1976 navy blue Ford El Camino with the white vinyl top saying, “I will NEVER spank my children when I’m a Mom!” Now, I’ve stuck to that thirty-year-old pledge in spirit and for the most part, in practice. However, the day in August 2000 when it was one hundred and twelve degrees in Dallas and probably one hundred and twenty in the Wal-Mart parking lot, I made an exception.
You see, I was eight months pregnant and my three-year-old son would not sit back into his car seat so I could buckle the three point harness. Well, you can imagine the scene—I’ve got my shopping cart full of everything under the sun and my abnormally large and pregnant rear end stuck out the sliding door of the minivan while trying to simultaneously wrestle and reason with a very tired and hungry three-year-old. And it happened. I snapped like a piece of elastic in some old panties and spanked my child. Yes, I did. I’m very fortunate that there were no surveillance cameras in the vicinity, lest both my son and my unborn daughter would have been immediately confiscated by CPS. I’m not sure which one of us was more surprised about the spanking. After all, my son had only recently had the following conversation with my mother:
Her, trying to get him to do something that now escapes me, but I am sure was of the utmost urgency: “Do you need BB to give you a spanking??”
Okay, as if a) any child would answer “yes” to this question, and b) my mom would dare to lay a finger on my child for fear I would beat her to death.
Him with a very puzzled look on his small face: “What’s a spanking?”
Her, narrowing her eyes at me: “Let me tell you something. You are going to be very sorry if don’t get control of your children early. I can’t believe he doesn’t even know what a spanking is.”
Me: “Yes, mom. I’m sure Ted Bundy was never spanked as a child either.”
Anyway, after the spanking ended I was left panting, sweating, and staring wide-eyed at an equally wide-eyed three-year-old. We just looked at each other. I was thinking “Holy crap. I think I just spanked my child.” I’m not sure what he was thinking, but I was able to immediately buckle him in his car seat and unload the grocery cart into the back of the van. I then climbed into the driver’s seat, air conditioning blowing on high, put the van in reverse, and promptly backed smack into a Lexus that was coming down the aisle behind me.
Now this lady, and I use that term loosely, was not happy. I could see her in my rear-view mirror and she was using words I can lip read. So, I took a deep breath and literally crawled down out of the van and dragged my pregnant belly back to see the damage. It was not good. My van, fine. Her Lexus, smashed. As I came around the back of the van, she was looking at the front-end damage to her car and I now could hear the words coming out of her mouth. That is until the second she turned around and saw me. My hair was soaking wet with sweat and plastered to my head. All my makeup had melted off, with the exception of my mascara, which was now underneath my eyes, and I was still out of breath from the round I had just had with the three-year-old.
She literally said, “OH MY GOD. You are pregnant!”
Umkay, old lady ... is that an insult or are you somehow offended by pregnant women? Either way, I’m liking you less by the second.
Then the most remarkable thing happened. She mumbled, “Never mind,” got back into her Lexus, and drove away, leaving me standing on the hot asphalt wondering, “What the hell was that?”
I am still to this day not exactly sure what happened with the Lexus Lady. All I know is that I never heard from her or her insurance company, and I’m pretty confident she ate every word she spoke about me on her ride to the body shop.