Today’s memory challenge is brought to my mind as we begin training our new dog Cassie. There are limits to be set and boundaries to be pushed. It is all a part of growing up and being a part of a family.

Kids get in trouble. It happens. I was such a nervous child that I didn’t get in trouble very much. I was always terrified that something really, REALLY bad would happen to me which was all in my head. My mom or my grandparents could say good morning to me in the wrong tone of voice and I would burst into tears. The strain of trying to be perfect and of course never succeeding took its toll on me from childhood into adulthood.

I can only remember three instances of actually getting in trouble though. One, I don’t know what I did but I had to have been 10 or 11, but I made my mom so made that she threw a couple of pillows at me. I think she must have wanted to do more but didn’t. And as I write this I am remembering more – the one thing I did wrong all the time and probably was what made her so mad – was not clean my room. In her younger days my mom was a real clean and neat freak. The vacuum cleaner never cleaned things good enough for her so she would get down on her hands and knees after vacuuming and pick things up off the floor. I never kept my room clean. I mean, we are talking disaster zone. And like most kids I didn’t see the big deal since I could always find what I wanted and she could always shut the door. But she didn’t like to do that. She wanted it clean. Many a time I would come home from school to find out that she had cleaned my room for me. It was the only time I ever got really really angry. I would have a full-out temper tantrum and throw things around the room and make it even messier than before. That was probably what happened the day she threw pillows at me.

In Junior High I had a horse named Sparky. We boarded him a ways from home and one day my mom and my grandmother came out to watch me ride. There were a couple of cute teenage boys working at the place and I was trying to show off. I tried to jump on Sparky bareback without using the step I usually used (He was huge. I was short.) I missed and fell off into the dirt and halfway under him. I said “damn” and my grandmother slapped my face right there in front of everyone, including the cute guys.

But the time of getting in trouble that I remember the most was with my grandfather. My grandfather was my world (until he died when I was 10.) He taught me how to play cards and I wanted to play with him all the time. Even though he was tired after work he indulged me a lot. He never “let” me win and I got tired of losing all the time. So one day I cheated. I was so sure that I had been sneaky enough to not be caught but of course he knew. He just said “you cheated” and packed up the cards. I remember very well that sinking feeling in my stomach that I had done something unforgivable, that I had disappointed him, that I had broken something that couldn’t be fixed.

Your turn. Can you remember a time you got in trouble as a kid?