The little girl walked up to me. Mommy, I accidentally wrote in the book.
Well, Abigail, what does that mean?
She hangs her head, A spanking.
Yes, what book did you write in?
The Apple Strudel Soldier.
A library book.
Why did you write in The Apple Strudel Soldier?
I thought it was a coloring book.
I could tell she was searching for a reason that sounded acceptable. A coloring book is an appropriate place to write. Things were getting out of hand, I had to tackle the “accident” and the writing and if we continued this line of questioning I am sure we would get into lying and other subjects this Monday morning mother wasn't prepared for.
We were sitting face to face--she on the couch, I on the ottoman. She was worrying over the consequences. I wanted to address the disobedience and “tweaking” of the truth.
Abigail, you knew this wasn't a coloring book. It is your favorite library book. We will have to tell Miss Diane when we take it back.
Do I have to have a spanking? She asked tearfully.
Yes, Honey, you have to have a spanking. You know you are not allowed to write in books.
A quiet voice--Ask to see what she wrote.
Abigail, show me where you wrote.
She opened the book to the title page and pointed to a pen mark not a centimeter in length. Eyelashes are longer. The frayed edges of this old book are longer.
Oh, Abby. I can't spank you for this.
Relief covers her face. There will be no spanking.
Mommy, I'm sorry I wrote in the book.
Oh, Sweetheart, I forgive you. I am sorry I scared you, that I was going to spank you without cause. Will you forgive me?
Yes. She replies.
Mommy, I'm sorry I wrote in the book. Will we need to tell Miss Diane?
No, Honey, we won't.
Her eyes give it away. Her body tense beside me gives it away. She isn't convinced. Not of the forgiveness. Not of the love. Not of the relationship damaged in disobedience, but repaired in forgiveness.
To read more please visit A Lettered Legacy.