Making amends for something I did when I was four

A letter might be ok, and even if she thinks it’s creepy it might be a way to rid yourself once and for all of this bugbear.

I’m unclear on the concept…when you say you threatened her, do you mean you took the knife and said “I’m gonna kill you with this” or whatever or did you actually try to stab her?
Because if you didn’t actually attempt to hurt her, then I don’t think it was right for her to kick you in the shin. I babysit a lot and I would never kick a four-year-old in the shin.

And in response to the first reply, yes it would be creepy to track her down after 32 years. She probably doesn’t have a grudge or anything.

Costly, frequent, and intensive counseling with a hypnotherapist has allowed me to recover lost memories of shitting my diaper when I was an infant. Once I even blorted out a load of Pampers-pudding mere seconds after my mother had just bathed and changed me.

I can’t express the psychic pain that memory causes me now. It’s not the kind of thing someone can just “get over,” even decades later.

I pulled out a small knife and swung it at her. She managed to get it away from me. Then I grabbed the butcher knife and came at her. That’s when she kicked me.

The reason this all came up is because someone who I knew when I was in elementary school contacted me on a networking website yesterday. I was surprised he remembered me, and then I started thinking about all the people I knew when I was little.

Plus, I was drunk when I made the original posting.

Oh, and I think several posters in this thread are being unneccessarily rude. I mean, my god, I was thinking about making amends for something. For that, I should be mocked mercilessly I suppose.

Let me put it to you this way… when I was working through the Twelve Steps, I agonized over an incident when I lost control while babysitting my younger siblings. I had whipped my younger brother with a belt and put a bruise on his legs. He was no more than five, so I couldn’t have been more than 15 or 16. (Way old enough to know better, but I also shouldn’t have been the sole caretaker of four children aged 3, 5, 6 and 8 years old for 16 hours of the day either, but I digress.) I still remember the welt coming up on his little leg, I don’t know that I’ll ever get rid of that image.

My point is, when I called him to make amends about the incident, he didn’t even remember it. He was more concerned that I was tearing myself up over something that had happened so long ago. He appreciated that I acknowledged that I had done hurtful things while taking care of them, but he realized now, as an adult, the pressure under which I had been placed and had a much better perspective on the whole deal than I ever did.

I’m sure this casual acquaintance, if she even remembers the incident at all, understands you were just a kid doing something stupid and barely gives it a thought.

Also, I don’t think it’s surprising that a maudlin drunk posting is being mocked actually. :wink:

Thanks lisacurl. That was helpful. I guess people are more resilient then I’ve given them credit for.

Also, kids, don’t drink and post.

Oh, haha. I see.
Well yeah, I guess you pretty much get the point. I actually think you should write her a letter, if you really want to, but you might not even know if she lives in the same city, so…it might be difficult.

If you ever cross paths with this former babysitter of yours, I think it would be sweet of you to bring it up, like, “You know I’ve always felt terrible about being such a little hellion and waving that knife at you,” or words to that effect. But I can’t see a way that just coming out of the woodwork to find her and apologize wouldn’t be creepy.

On behalf of your former babysitter, I forgive you by proxy… just like I forgave my friend’s kid who told me quite matter-of-factly one day when I really did not need to hear it, “You know, you have a really fat butt.” :smiley:

By the way, gazpacho soup? Served cold.

Just the other day I was visiting an old friend of mine. She fed me lunch and I sat there with her two lovely teenaged girls, and told them about the time I had babysat their older brothers. The oldest boy (age 5ish) had run around the house, waving kitchen knives at me. I was having a hard time putting the knives in an inaccessible place, since his younger brother, age 4, was sitting in his favorite place on top of the fridge. (I think he was part chimpanzee; he could climb anything.) The older girl was about 18 months old and I was carrying her so that her brother wouldn’t trip and stab her. I put the boys in their room, and they destroyed their door. I had to call for assistance at that point, while the oldest kid sawed at the phone cord with the knife.

My friend, of course, feels terrible about this incident (she is an excellent and heroic mother btw, and eventually mangaged to civilize them) but we laughed about it and I would never dream of holding that day against either of the now-grown boys. (Chimp boy, btw, is now in the Marines, which I think is just where he will do wonderfully.) I doubt they remember it, but if they do, they can just wait until their own kids are born…

Anyway, horrible babysitting stories are not the stuff of permanent trauma; they are fodder for making your friends shriek with laughter.

Um…you put it in the Pit. You aren’t new here; you know that even a well-founded Pit thread gets treated like a ham in a shark tank, let alone the silliness of this OP.

I dunno. I think if you wrote her a letter she’d probably be ok with it. You can talk about how it may seem silly, but you just feel bad about it and want to get it off your chest. More than a letter would probably be too much. However, I doubt she’s totally traumatized by it.

Or just write a detailed letter, put it in an envelope addressed “My Childhood Babysitter” and drop it into the nearest mailbox. The experience may proved cathartic and if karma works as it should, she’ll get the message in some form.

No no no! Put the butcher knife in a box, and mail it to her in advance, along with a note that says, “I’ll be there on Saturday to explain.” That should work out well.

You carried a knife when you were four? You must have been one bad-ass little motherfucker. You’re lucky the babysitter didn’t go upside your head with a frying pan and lock you in the closet.

I spent time worrying about the OP last night.

The juxtaposition of “I feel bad about what I did” type statements with “bad thangs have been done to me.”

I wondered if the you were on some awful depressive “It’s all my fault - I deserved the bad things” kick.

Turns out you were just drunk. Now you’re a bit upset that people are mocking you.
You’re a maudlin drunk, seeking pity from strangers, and you came to the BBQ pit to get it?

Oh dear.

Maybe you do deserve to pit yourself, but leave the baby sitter out of it.

My AA sponsor, who was a very wise man, probably wasn’t thinking of your situation when he told me, “The best amends you can make to some people is to leave them alone.” But I think the advice fits.

Another solution is to send a postcard to PostSecret:

Of course, we’ll all know it’s you. :slight_smile:

If you can’t find her through Google or Facebook, forget it. If you can, send her a simple message- ‘Not to be creepy, but sometimes I still feel bad about being such a hellion as a kid, and I’m sorry if I ever traumatized your teenage brain. Just had to get that off my chest. Hope you’re doing well.’

The end.

Chances are she’ll barely remember. If Ricki Lake’s taught me anything – and she has – is that some people can be traumatized for life by the same incidents others forget (see: Every episode titled something like ‘You Bullied Me At School, Now I’m Hot, Fool.’ The former bully always looks confused.)

I actually found a former babysitting charge on Facebook, all grown up. Yikes. She seems normal enough, but what a devil child. I’m sure she threatened me, too, but never with a knife. Also, she had tons and tons of babysitters, so I doubt she’d remember harassing just one.