Summer vacations meant one thing growing up. Spanking stops. Every few hours on the long drive from Connecticut to Utah, my dad would pull our 15 passenger van over to the side of the freeway, make us nine kids line up along the side of the car and one by one, spank the crud out of us behind the van.
It didn’t matter if you’d been asleep. It didn’t matter if you’d been reading your Book of Mormon. My poor father had no way of knowing which of us hellions were making the awful din that rang ceaselessly from the inner depths of the van. So guilty or innocent, you got spanked. We’d plead our cause as our turn came up in line. I remember casting desparete eyes at the passing cars, willing one of them to call highway patrol and stop this madman from his determined punishments. But no car ever stopped. My father was never sweet talked out of a spanking, and we never could quite stop fighting with each other on that three day drive. Mom, of course, pretended to sleep in the front seat for the entire three days.
I know this is the “I walked uphill both ways to school” speech. I don’t have it anywhere near as badly with my children, yet I can’t help but think of these Spanking Stops as I prepare to fly home for Christmas, alone with my two young daughters. It will be a first for me, traveling alone with them. I’ve been trying to visualize the logistics of it ever since I bought my airlines tickets two months ago. No clear picture is coming to me. All I can do is pray for a miracle and remember to pack heavy drugs.
Once when I was traveling with just my fussy 1 year old, a miracle actually occured. After almost an hour of my trying to get her to stop screaming, a kind American Airlines stewardess volunteered to take my child and entertained her in the captains cockpit, stewardess area and the isles for almost an hour. I spent most of that hour weeping with gratitude. I wish I had gotten her name and made sure to book my flight on her schedule. But alas, I fear the worst.
If I thought Spanking Stops on the side of the highway were embarrassing, I can’t even imagine how they would be on an airplane. Let’s just hope they aren’t necessary.
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