On Anger and Forgiveness
She did it. She crossed the line. We got home late one afternoon to see our son hurt with a wound on his face. We thought it was just the consequence of rough play between two brothers. When asked where he got the wound, my son shrugged, “I don’t know.” It was an unacceptable answer. We asked his younger brother, “Yaya hit me and kuya,” he said.
Then the other yaya told me the complete story, validated by our house boy. Apparently, when the boys were playing, they upset the laundry. She spanked my youngest son three times on the hands. She ran after my eldest boy, grabbed his head, scratched his face, and bounced him on the wall.
Rage filled me. It consumed me. It was painful because I almost never get angry. I almost lost control. I asked Yaya to come and explain what happened. “Wala pong nangyari, pinalo ko lang sa kamay (Nothing happened, I just hit him on the hands),” she said.
Since when did you start hitting children? It was the first rule of our house, stressed in our conversations with our help upon starting their service: The children are of primary importance. You will not hurt the children. You can tell them what they were doing wrong. You may not shout at them. You will tell us as soon as we get home so that we will deal with it.
She hit him, my son. There is a wound on his upper lip. There is a tender spot on the back of his head where it hit the wall. There are marks on his face. On his lovely face.
“Sinabi po ng mama nyo, ok lang paluin ang bata (Your mama said, it’s ok to hit the children),” she continued.
Nonsense. This was our house. We have no such rule.
She lied, then continued to lie as the truth came out.
I could see the fear in her eyes as I approached and almost mauled her. What she did to my son, I wished to inflict upon her. An eye for an eye. Uncontrolled, I could have killed her. In my mind, I already did.
Then, in this rage, as my vision tunneled, I saw a light at the periphery. It was my son, looking at me… watching, waiting expectantly.
My love for him fought against the rage in my heart. I counted to 10. Then I counted to 100. Then the painful anger slowly ebbed away.
Why would I show him this violence?
We called the barangay to pick her up.
At the station, we filed a report. When the barangay official asked, “What are we going to do with her?” This was, without question, child abuse, corroborated by witnesses. When reported to the women and children’s welfare desk, it is automatic jail time for her. Bail set at P80,000.
I asked my son, who was with us, what he wanted to do with his erring yaya.
Without missing a beat, he said, “Yaya, I forgive you. Don’t do it again.”
This lesson, we have instilled in my sons, to say to each other when the play got too rough. He was extending forgiveness to someone who hurt him. Someone who did not deserve this forgiveness.
I write this to release the anger in my heart. To follow the example of my son. For healing.