By ANGEL KANE
I always cringe when I hear my middle child running down the stairs with her younger brother following close behind, crying out… “Noooooo … please don’t tell Mama …please, I didn’t mean it.”
My middle child is our Lady of Justice. If you wrong her in any way, she immediately demands that the accused be swiftly brought to justice. And usually, no matter what the crime, she expects the perp to get the chair!
So as she leaped down the last three steps, with her brother running in hot pursuit, I could see the glimmer in her eyes. “Mama …Mama – guess what he did?”
Behind her stood her brother, with tears streaming down his face, “I didn’t mean it. I’m sorry,” he begged for his life.
Knowing that our Lady of Justice considers even the slightest indiscretion to be a crime punishable by death, I wasn’t too worried. In fact, in years past, I would have simply ignored her rants.
However, time has taught me that if I don’t at least appear to inflict a harsh penalty onto the accused, Lady Justice will simply take matters into her own hands and inflict her own form of cruel and unusual punishment. And believe me – my middle child – could care less about civil rights. Her forms of retribution put Sadam to shame. For instance, if you dare to touch her Barbie, without having executed the appropriate waivers and releases, she will chop off the offending hand and ask questions later. Innocent until proven guilty is not a legal principle she readily embraces.
“What happened?” I inquired, trying to act as incensed as she was, in an effort to save my son’s hand, for yet another day.
“You are not going to believe it!”
“What is it?” I said, still trying to appear interested as I wrote out my grocery list.
My youngest cried out again, “I didn’t know…I’m sorry…don’t tell Daddy.”
I put the pen down – could it be – that the accused was actually guilty of a real crime? He was playing the Daddy card – which my children only play when they are guilty as charged.
“What did he do?” I inquired, this time with more attention.
She then looked at me triumphantly and said …“He said the F word.” I gasped!
My son is only 5. My mind began to race. Had my baby moved from just that morning watching “Bob the Builder” to this afternoon blurting out the F-word? I took a deep breath and thought for a minute. I quickly considered that the F-word, to those under the age of 8, could be something other than the F-word you and I know.
So, I asked the question no parent wants to ask, “What F word?” And then, with a huge smile on her face, hands on her hips, looking directly at her brother, she bellowed into his face, “He said … stupid!!”
I don’t know what made me angrier. That my 5 year old said the S-word – a word that is strictly forbidden in our home – or that I had spent a small fortune on private school tuition so that my 8 year old could tell me that the word stupid starts with an F.
I sentenced both of them to life….otherwise known as….6 o’clock, when their Father would be home. My youngest took it well. Life was better than death by stoning, which had been the sentence his sister had been pursuing.
Lady Justice, however, didn’t take it as well. She stomped her feet as she went up the stairs muttering something about having me removed from the bench.
Yeah, I thought…when you figure out what letter the word bench starts with, …we’ll talk.
Lady Justice is now 11 years old and still considers herself to both Judge and Jury. Unfortunately, for our youngest, redemption is still not a word she recognizes, as she continues to be a strong proponent of retribution.
I am proud to say, however, that Lady Justice did make it into the finals of her class Spelling Bee this year. Unfortunately, she didn’t win, and considers that to be yet another miscarriage of justice.