One of the good things about being home is that we get a chance to retell old family stories from when I was younger. Like the time my Grandad was up staying and in an attempt to take me out on my bike, climbed over all the junk in our garage to get to it, and then carried it back over all the junk. Only to be told my a 7 year old Jen that I’d grown out of that bike – my current one was even further towards the locked front garage door…. Oops. After the effort he had gone to get me a bike, whether the right size or not, I didn’t have any choice but to ride it!
The story that always surprises me the most is also about a bike, but not my bike. I was bought up in a cul-du-sac which had very little traffic, so all the children in the street would play together in the road. I think I must have been about 4 or 5, and I had decided to take Nicola, my precious doll out to play with me. At some point, I must have been distracted by a friend, and I left Nicola out in the road unattended. Also out playing, was an bigger, older boy. He was playing on his bike, and he had built a ramp in the middle of the road and he was seeing how far he could jump from it, on his bike. When he saw Nicola left unattended, he took her and placed her just beyond the ramp, and used her as an obstacle. I suddenly spotted him doing this to my poor, baby Nicola and was *not* impressed. According to my Dad, I picked up the nearest big stick and started hitting him with it. My Dad had to come and stop me from injurying him!
Anyone who knows me now, knows that this behaviour is completely out of character. Nowadays I would generally have to know somebody very well, before I would allow myself to display any anger – physically or verbally. And what I don’t understand about this story is that when I was 4 or 5, I was incredibly shy. I wouldn’t say boo to a goose. This boy I did know from the street, but I didn’t know him very well. I’m just surprised that I let my anger out in that way. I think it must have been a kind of motherly instinct. I really did treat Nicola like my child – except I suppose, leaving her in the street on her own! I was just enraged that somebody could have so little respect for my ‘baby’. Within my family, Nicola was usually treated with respect, and I wasn’t used to anybody putting her in ‘danger’ in that way.
But, in a way, part of me is quite proud of that 4 year old Jen. Standing up for her rights. Not being afraid to tell this bigger boy to leave my ‘baby’ alone. It is probably a good job my Dad intervened – as he says, his mum would have been after me, if I’d injured him! But I like to think I’d do the same now – not neccesssarily hit them with a stick, but if a boy mistreated myself or a good friend, then I would stand up for what is right. So watch out!