The Punch

iris4They came tearing down the driveway, waving their skinny-as-toothpick arms, yelling. For a split second I thought they were excited, but as they drew closer, my middle aged eyes focused enough to see she was crying and he looked furious.

“He punched her!” my son yelled.

“He punched me in the eye!” my daughter said through hiccupy sobs. That’s when I noticed her left eye was red and swollen.

And then I was sprinting in my bare feet up the driveway toward the school bus, the two of them yelling the details at my back. I was going to get to whichever he had just punched my 8 year old in the eye. What I was going to do when I got there, I didn’t know.

I took two of the bus steps in a single leap. Panting, I looked at the driver.  “My daughter says a boy punched her.”

She nodded, “Oh yeah, he punched her alright.”

And then a dozen of the children seated near the front of the bus leapt from their seats, their helium voices competing.

‘Oh boy, he punched her!’

‘I saw it!’

‘I was like ‘what!’ 

“Where is he?” I asked.

“He got off, a ways back,” the driver told me.

The scene of the crime, A.K.A. our school bus

The scene of the crime, A.K.A. our school bus

I got off the bus, took the kids inside, got an ice pack on my daughter’s eye and asked her what happened.

“He was picking his nose next to me, so I said, ‘You’re picking your nose.’ Then he said, ‘You want me to bring these bad boys out?’ and he punched me.”

She mimed what he had done, lifting her fists like a little boxer.

I had to stifle a laugh. Look, I wasn’t happy this happened, but God gave me the kid who is going to call you out if you pick your nose.

My son told his tale of rushing up the bus aisle, one of his buddies on his heels for back up. “Did you just punch my sister?”  he supposedly roared at the boy. Then the bus driver got involved and it was over and the kid got off.

I called the school and learned I wasn’t the first parent to call. This was news. Other children had streamed off the bus, telling the story of the punch to their parents.

She's silly and outspoken. A fisty boy isn't going to change that.

She’s silly and outspoken. A fisty boy isn’t going to change that.

After the vice principal assured me the boy would be dealt with, things calmed down and snacks were given and homework got done.

Later that afternoon, my daughter and I were in the shower together. It was a habit I started a few months earlier, in a summer time saving effort.

My daughter loved my shower, with its soaps and gels and scrubs, the way it was so grown up and nice smelling. Each day she would agonize over which perfumey product she got to use.

I was exhausted and grumpy. I still had a load of laundry to fold, piano practice to supervise, and dinner to cook. I wanted a minute, just a single solitary moment to wash my hair.

“You know, I think you need to start taking showers by yourself soon,” I said to her.

She froze, her fingers in her sudsed up hair. “Why?”

“Because you’re getting bigger. And I just did this for the summer.”

“You told me I could take a shower with you for the rest of my life.”

“I never said that.”

“Yes you did.”

“Listen,” I said, “Mommy would just like some time to herself.”

She dropped her hands to her side, the water running down her body, matching the tears that started to slide down her cheeks.

“But you’ll have plenty of time to yourself when you’re dead.”

She began to cry harder.

“And I want to be with you. So I can remember you.”

It turns out my daughter’s punch is a helluva lot harder than that boy’s on the bus.

I want to remember this, too

I want to remember this, too






Posted in Off the Air Tagged with: , , , , , ,
19 comments on “The Punch
  1. Jane says:

    Goosebumps and tears of joy for you. Love these moments as a mom when our children teach us life lessons.

  2. Joanna says:

    Hugh just asked this morning what happens to our brains when we die. He’s decided that as we will all be dead soon there is no point in learning stuff. Kids can be harsh but you can’t fault their logic! x

    • Jaye Watson says:

      That’s the truth…Jude is currently making me insane with ..”Well then who created God?” Just like I was. Hope your school year is off to a swimming start..

  3. Dan Lynn says:

    great, well written story

  4. Beth Cope says:

    I won’t lie… this made me shed a couple…

    • Jaye Watson says:

      If you feel any better, I cried too..right there in the shower. So I’ll be 65 and she’ll be in her 30’s..jammed in next to me in the shower. I told her she could shower with me forever and her tears were gone in two seconds.

  5. Betsy Baker says:

    Beautiful and so well written. So much truth and tenderness that sparks memories and forgotten emotions. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jack Watts says:

      I’m glad the boy got off the bus earlier—not for his sake, yours. I was furious just reading it.

      From the time I was five, my mother said, “Jackie, no matter what, never hit a girl.” It’s a lesson I’ve never forgotten.

      • Jaye Watson says:

        Thanks, Jack. I was so angry, I couldn’t see. So it’s good he wasn’t there. I wouldn’t have touched him, but I would have given him a tongue lashing to end all tongue lashings. And your mama taught you well…thanks for reading.

    • Jaye Watson says:

      Thank you so much for reading, Betsy..means a lot.

  6. Marla Shavin says:

    Your little girl is fierce! What a wonderful story. keep ’em coming!

  7. I could not love this more!!! xoxo sweet friend. giver her a hug for me 😉

  8. Jody Noland says:

    Wow. Bless that sweet girl. I hope the bully really did get disciplined. (And that he stopped picking his nose.) Give her just a few years and privacy will be everything! In the meantime, enjoy the moments….before you know it, they’re grown and living in Denver!

  9. Nancy Jo McDaniel says:

    I love this story! I also love being so visual…..I can see whatever I read as I read it!! My favorite part is you running barefoot to the bus…..GOD MADE SURE THE BOY WAS GONE…..Thank you for sharing this precious part of “life” off the air!!! XOXOXO to you and Kenny!!! Nancy Jo

  10. paula gates says:


    What a wonderful post !!!
    I have just found you this morning but am very impressed with your writing!
    A fan forever in Canada

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "The Punch"
  1. […] Seems like every time Jaye Watson posts to her blog, I like it so much that I share it here. This time, she writes about a couple of punches thrown, one between children and one, of a different kind, from child to mom. Read The Punch […]

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