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“Seriously, did you curse me?”

        “Seriously, mom, did you curse me?”

It was Wednesday evening; Mariah and I were heading home when she asked that question. She didn’t wait for an answer; she just kept talking about the situation and how she angry she was.

On Monday morning Mariah had asked me if I could take her to her boyfriends home. He had company from Washington and she wanted to see them. Before we left she decided to take her dog Bo with her. I had tried to warn her. There is another large male dog on the property and since both dogs are territorial in nature I did not think taking Bo would be a good idea. I felt she was setting herself up for trouble.

I immediately got the look. You know the look right? It is that disgusted; “don’t over think this, mom” look. I decided to keep quite and let her learn the hard way.

The dogs got along well for about 2 hours before the honeymoon period wore off. Bo finally noticed the neighbor’s livestock and decided to take off. That was the beginning of the end. Shortly after his taking off the dogs got into a fight and I was called to pick Bo up.

Before the fight, though, and me picking him up, Mariah had to chase him. She saw him heading to the neighbors field. She knew he was going to chase their livestock. Since Bo is so incredibly fast, and hard to control, Mariah did not have enough time to slip her shoes on. She knew where he was heading and she knew she needed to stop him. Chasing a neighbors livestock will get a dog killed in a hurry around here.

She took off after him. Within a few hundred feet she caught up with him. As they were running back to the trailer she stepped, on what she thought, was a rock. She felt the pain but kept running anyway. Approximately 30 feet later she realized the perceived rock and pain was not going away. She bent over and pulled it out thinking maybe it was a small thorn or a stick. What she did have lodged in her foot was not a rock or a thorn, she had a 1 ½-roofing nail lodged in her foot.

She pulled the nail out and noticed it was rusty. In her mind she didn’t think twice about the rusty nail, she just applied some rubbing alcohol on the puncture site and thought that would be good enough. It was not!

By Tuesday morning her foot was killing her. She noticed it was developing an infection. We went to her primary care doctor. She was given a tetanus booster shot, antibiotic shot and sent home. On Wednesday morning we knew there was a problem. She went to her primary doctor again and by midmorning she was being checked into the hospital. She needed surgery. A drain tube had to be installed, as well as, the area opened up and flushed out because of the rust that was driven up into her foot.

Around 7-p.m. Wednesday night, after outpatient surgery, she was released from the hospital and sent home. With the direction that she would have to have several days of outpatient antibiotic IV’s at one of the local internal medicine clinics.

As we were driving home she looked at me, still heavily sedated, and asked the question if she was cursed. I waited to answer. I wanted to choose my words carefully. I knew what I wanted to say I just wanted it to be said in the most effective way possible. I responded with,

        “No Mariah you are not cursed. I have one question for you. It is a very simple, direct question that I have asked myself many times. A question I heard as a kid growing up. Do you know what that question might be?”

She shook her head no. I went on to say:

        “Everything we go through in life has a chance to be a learning possibility. What did, or what can, you learn from this situation? You don’t have to answer now. You can wait until you have had the chance to think about it, but I would really encourage you to think about what should be learned, and not focus on how cursed you think you are. That’s just my suggestion.”

She didn’t wait to think about it. She answered right away.

        “I think I know what my lesson is in all of this.”

        “You do, what is it?”

        “I should have listened to you when you said not to take Bo with me. You knew what you were talking about. And by the way, mom, thank you for not saying I told you so.”

Did I want to say, “I told you so?” Yes actually I did. I wanted to say that and more, but I didn’t. I knew I could not. My own life experiences prevented me from doing that. I too had many experiences that taught me life lessons the hard way. Experiences that could have been avoided if I had only listened to those around me.

Life is made up of choices. We can either choose to listen to those who have gone before us, and know the possible pit falls that lay ahead, or we can ignore their council and learn the hard way.

Is she cursed? No, no more than I am. In time hopefully she will learn the same lesson I had to learn. In time hopefully she will learn to stop, listen, learn and then proceed. Hopefully, but if not, my answer will remain the same.

        “So, tell me, what did you learn?”

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