My 7 year old daughter and nieces had just finished practicing being flower girls. My kid was still nervous about the wedding. She comes up to me and shows me her top front tooth is bleeding. This isn’t the first time so I’m not concerned by it.
My sis, the dental hygienist, asks to see the tooth. My kid doesn’t want her to, but I tell her to let my sister take a look. My sis then grabs my kid’s head with her left hand and the tooth with her right.
I say stop and try to pull my sisters hand off my kid, but realize if I pull with her I am pulling out the tooth. My kid says “ow” each time my sis jerks her head forward which totaled 3 times. My husband tries to get my sis to stop and starts yelling after my kid’s first “ow”. After the 3rd jerk she got the tooth out.
It is now bleeding more than it was before and my kid is crying hysterically. My husband is yelling at my sis “You can’t do that. You can’t do whatever you want.” He walks off. I grab my kid to take her somewhere more private. My sis says “take the tooth or I am throwing it away.” I take the tooth and move away from the group that is watching us.
People from the bride’s side are bringing me ice and tissues for my kid. My side of the family is telling me that my sis didn’t mean anything by it and that my kid would be okay. My kid is trying to stop crying and take her to the bathroom trying for some privacy. I wipe the blood off and we look at her mouth. My sis comes in and says “She’s fine. Quit babying her.”
My kid cries as soon as she sees my sis. I say “You were wrong. This wasn’t the time.” My sis says, “She was bleeding. I needed to do what y’all wouldn’t.” I said, “It wasn’t your decision. I asked you to stop and you wouldn’t. You were wrong.”
My sis didn’t apologize. Her husband gave my kid $10. My kid didn’t understand the money. My husband says he will never forgive her. My kid is afraid of her. And I feel I failed in protecting my child. How do I handle this?
Your sister did the wrong thing — at the wrong time — in the wrong way. Her lack of sensitivity to your daughter, the direct physical invasion, and the timing of the circumstances has caused your daughter to be upset and embarrassed, you and your husband to feel alienated, and her own husband to be ashamed. Regardless of her intention, the net result is that she upset everyone. Her self-righteous reaction doesn’t leave much room for healing. When someone fails to acknowledge their actions hurt other people, there isn’t much opportunity to rebuild.
Give it some time. I would talk privately with her after a while and explain that you want to have a relationship with her, and would like her to understand how this hurt you. I would offer her a dialogue from time-to-time to give her an opportunity. There were SO many other ways she could have handled this — but chose not to. If she isn’t willing to see her actions as being hurtful, then you may have to remain guarded about your involvement. If she only invests in justifying herself then she will rationalize doing it, or something equally inappropriate, again.
Wishing you patience and peace,