Our family were regular churchgoers.
Not only did we go every Sunday, but on and every Thursday night, I attended a Junior Club there.
It began at 7 pm, finished at nine and at the conclusion I had to take the bus home by myself.
One week after Junior Club, I missed my bus.
The next bus was scheduled to come half an hour later, so I figured the ‘grown-up’ thing to do would be to just sit and wait for it.
Unfortunately, the battery had drained on my cell phone – an old Nokia – so I couldn’t ring home to tell them of the change of plan.
Needless to say, back home my mom was extremely worried when I didn’t get home at the usual time, nor had I responded to her calls because of my phone battery.
Mom had called the leaders of the Junior Club, who told her that I had left more or less on time.
This, of course, just made her worry even more.
She called my dad, who was away on a business trip – he tried to calm her down and told her that I would probably be home soon.
If not, she should have a drive out to look for me, and then maybe call the police too.
I finally got on the second bus.
When I got home, there were lights on all over the house.
Mom threw her arms around me when she saw me – at first she was just glad to have me home safe.
Finally, she grew sterner and demanded to know what had happened.
When I told her, I was sent to bed immediately, with the warning:
“We’ll talk more about this tomorrow after school.”
While I was at school the next day, my dad returned from his trip and Mom told him what had happened.
When got home that afternoon, I was called into the living room.
Mom and dad were both sitting on the sofa, and I was told to sit down as well.
Then Dad began to lecture me about what had happened.
He told me I had been utterly irresponsible to not make sure the battery on my phone was charged.
He added: “You were very naughty, Sarah.
What you should have done was go back to church and borrowed a phone to call your mom, and tell her what happened.
She would have come and picked you up, or at the very least she would have known you were safe and just waiting for the next bus.”
Mom then spoke up.
She told me that as a punishment, I would be grounded for a week, meaning I couldn’t see friends after school or go to Junior Club next week.
Furthermore, to make sure I understood how serious this was, Mother would now take me to my room and give me a spanking.
When I was told of my fate, I began to cry.
Nevertheless, Mother took me firmly by the hand and guided me to my room, where she closed the door so it was just me and him.
She sat down on my bed and gave me another short lecture.
At the conclusion, she said: “Father and I love you more than anything in the world.
We just want you to be safe.
Now, it’s time to show you how much we care.”
She then put me across her knee.
Mother had no problem smacking me, and after three or four swats, I was sobbing.
Afterward, she held me close to her while I wept and told me again that her and father loved me so much.
Then she left me to finish having a little cry, and then do my homework.