Thursday, August 16, 2012

Honor the Child

                                                      Honor the Child

  I felt that no one cared. There was no where to turn. Major Dribben and the Army had made me feel like that lost child again. I could not understand what it was all for. There had to be a way to make it better. To change it. No one else should go through what I had. I was overwhelmed with how easily I had been thwarted in my attempt for justice. It was a new game and I did not know the rules. I did talk to more lawyers, nothing. One offered to help if I paid $30,000 upfront. I was so angry that they had effectively taken away my voice. I had finally done it. Stood up to them all, exposed what had been done and they turned me away. I felt very small and helpless and that was not something I was comfortable with. I threw myself into my children and their schools. Anything that kept my mind from thinking about my inability to get the military to change their policies. Major Dribben had blamed it on Congress. It was a law passed to protect the military from just such situations, that the Army was hiding behind. It absolved them of any responsibility. I asked who had put this law forward, Major Dribben had laughed. As if it was funny. Really, I think it was because he knew I was tilting at windmills. I could not then, nor do I understand now, how a body of individuals, that we voted in and paid could make a law against it's own children. I knew, I was naive. But honestly, in passing such a law, Congress was acknowledging children were going to be damaged and that Congress had to protect the military from any consequences of it's own inaction. It was wrong. Morally it was very wrong. I was a military brat and I grew up going to military schools in a foreign country. I was raised up to believe ours was the best country and it was the Army that kept us safe. Apparently, that did not apply if you were a child. It was hard. I refused have paid so much and gained so little.  It was as if they were making me a victim again.

  My heart still hurts today, for all those that came after. They haunt me as much as those three little girls did. I felt a burden then, as I do now. And I did not have the answers.

  My children where getting older. The friction between my Husband and myself was getting worse and they witnessed far too many arguments. I was so hell bent on not being my Mother. I stood up to my Husband on everything. I automatically took my children's sides, no matter the situation. I was proving to them that I loved them. That they were important and that I would protect them from the world both inside and outside of our home. It was classic overcompensation. I did not know that then. I had been  fighting my whole life, it was all I knew. I created the battlefield and laid out the land mines, never realizing my children were the casualties of the war I fought so bitterly. I fought his temper, his jealousy, his control and even his love.  I could brook no peace and he offered none. My Mother slowly crept back into my life. Her Mother had a stroke. I would go and spend time with her. Play cards with her. Wash her hair, whatever was needed. It was nice to be with my Grandparents. They talked about their parents and told stories of  their youth. It was an honor to do it.  A way to say thank you and to show respect. My Grandmother had watched us sometimes when I was little. She made us peanut butter and honey sandwiches and taught us to play gin rummy for pennies. She may have lectured me about my tomboy ways, but she always took care of us. She baked the best chocolate chip and pineapple cookies.  I treasured those memories more than straightening her house could ever show. I had stayed away until she got sick. It was too hard. My Mother would drop in, or be the subject of conversation. I was unwilling to listen to advice from anyone regarding my Mother. I knew people tried to help. Telling me I needed to get over whatever it was between us. Reminding me of how much I owed her, as if there was an outstanding debt in my name.  I could not participate in those conversation. So much damage could be done unwittingly, by the well meaning soul, trying to sop up tears of a crocodile using the cloak of the freezing child.  Nor was I willing to drag my pain out like it was a dog and pony show for others to judge and decide if my feelings were valid. I just simple stayed gone. It was better that way. It was all too painful. I would rather be seen as unkind and cold then have my true feelings on display. She reveled in those moments when we were all together. Family events that she could exploit in her favor. She would call us over. Complain that I did not phine or visit. As if nothing had happened. She put the burden of her past deeds on my shoulders and instructed me to stand straight and never stumble, no matter how high she stacked the stones. She played the victim so much better than I.  She wanted to accept accolades of someone she was not, while taking no responsibility for the person she really was. I could not do it. It was too much. I had lived through my childhood, but I was not going to ignore that it had happened. I would not lie to others so that she would be happy. I wanted that loving Mother, I desired that wonderful family. But, I would not settle for a counterfeit. I owed the child I had been, the one who still looked out through my eyes, more than that. I would not sell her out so easily. I may not have been able to protect myself all those years ago, but I damn sure could now.
  Still she found away. My Grandmother was diagnosed with  cancer and when she died, I let my guard down. I may have found it hard to love my Mother, but I could easily feel sorry for her. She did not notice the difference. I think that love was such a foreign concept to her she did not miss it. She did not ask for forgiveness, that I would have had to find a way to give. She simply refuse to except any consequences for her own behavior. It was as if the child I had been never existed. My Mother had taken so much from me, I would not let her take that too.


  1. I was not a military brat but later joined to get away from my family. I then married someone who was in the military and we started a family. I had a friend who was stationed in Okinawa Japan. She said many child abuse especially child sexual abuse over seas and in DOD schools and they get by with it because the crime was overseas and the occupying country does not care because it was not one of there citizens.
    I lived in a rural corrupt town growing up where things were allowed to happen.

  2. Yes, we all have a story of how others turned from the truth. It is a sad thing.
    But we can change that. We can make a difference.