Family Fiction posted June 27, 2014 Chapters:  ...42 43 -44- 45... 


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Sarah agrees to take over rules and consequences.

A chapter in the book Enough to Miss Christmas

Regrets and Promises

by Fridayauthor




Background
The recently constituted North family is learning new ways together, while attempting to overcome past demons.
       CHAPTER FORTY FOUR
      
            Paul rose and turned to our son. “Karen doesn’t feel very well. Let’s let her rest until dinner.”  He took the bowl of ice cream and set it on the night stand. The three of us left Karen alone.
       
            I didn’t think she'd come down for my quickly prepared supper, but she took a plate of food without speaking and retreated back to her bedroom. I followed her up but when I heard the click of her lock, I turned away to give her more time. Paul and I spent a miserable evening, moping around, but not mentioning what occurred. I put Timmy to bed, only after he shouted at Karen's door, “I hope you get better!”
      
            That night, in the privacy of our room, we held each other as closely as we could.
      
            “I never thought I’d strike a child of mine,” Paul said. “I was just like my father. I don’t know if she'll ever forgive me. I hate myself but then I think back to what she did.  God, I was so scared.”
      
            “That’s what your father did to you?” I asked.
      
            “Often. Too often. I hated the bastard. Now Karen will feel the same way about me.”
      
            “No, she won’t. We’ll talk it out.”
      
            “I still hate my father. He barely needed an excuse. He’d take off his belt and grab me. Thank God I didn’t do that! I’d fight him like a tiger. I even swung a board at him one time and broke his arm. It didn’t do any good. He had this gardener Amos do it for him, double, while he held me with his good arm and watched.”
      
            “God, Paul! Where was your mother?”
      
            “She was cowed by him like everyone else. That’s why I never see them. We pretend we’re family by sending cards and checks when our secretaries say it’s appropriate. Now I’m striking my own daughter. Maybe we’re destined to follow our parent’s example.” He turned to me. “See why I’m so willing to let you dictate what happens around here? I have no clue about how to do it right. At least you had a childhood to guide you. I never did.”
      
            I closed my eyes. “I had no right to try and stop you. It wasn’t my place, but we both should have taken time and thought this thing through, rationally. You struck her out of anger. She deserved to be prepared for what to expect as consequences of her actions. We’ve never discussed that with Karen and Timmy; set rules and punishments.”
      
            “What’s the next step?” He asked it quietly, as if I were the one who had some idea of what to do.
      
            “I don’t know. Tell her how much we love her and that she isn’t a bad person; she simply did something very wrong. She has to learn to accept responsibility for her actions.”
      
            “What about the next time?”
      
            “I don’t have all the answers, Paul. I do know we have to establish guidelines, and you and I have to speak with one voice.”
       
            “I agree.” He rolled over on his back. “I messed this up badly. Please, set up some rules and punishments, if they become necessary. You were right in trying to stop me tonight. We should have discussed it together before I acted like a crazy mad man.”
      
            “You’re leaving rules and punishment up to me?” I asked incredulously.
      
            He thought a moment. “Totally. That’s how much I trust you, and don’t trust myself. I know you’d be fair, and let’s face it; you’re with the children far more than I am. I won’t undermine you.”
            Part of me was relieved while part was angry for his abdication of responsibility.
       
            “Okay, I’ll take it on, Paul. But no hitting, of any kind. No spanking. No belts. Ever. What you did tonight scared Timmy half to death. It scared me too. I’m not sure it was even effective. I pulled him close. “We’ll get through this bump together. I’ll convince our daughter how much she is loved.”
      
       Then I made love to Paul, mostly because he needed it so very badly.
 


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Enough to Miss Christmas is a family love story, about sisters, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, parents and children. Foremost, it tells the story of a stepmom and a precocious young lady and how they bond in spite of overwhelming odds.
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