"We are not measured by the trials we meet -- only by those we overcome."
- - Spencer W. Kimball
September 9, 2013
Meeting Godzilla's Mother
by Kathryn H. Kidd

Fluffy and I were headed toward Sunday School last week, and as usual we beat the crowds and were the first ones to get to the Relief Society room. We have learned that it’s much easier to navigate a wheelchair if you’re not swimming upstream, salmonlike, against a river full of people. I, for one, do not like being a salmon.

When we got there, Fluffy left me in my wheelchair in the hallway as he turned to open the door to the room. As I sat there, a boy I had never seen before passed in front of my chair. I could almost see the light bulb illuminate in his wee little brain. He pivoted around, jumped into the air, and stomped down with both feet as hard as he could on my left foot.

I’m not going to pretend the kid was André the Giant. He was about six or seven years old, or maybe he was three or four years old. I can’t tell these things. The point is, he was no heavyweight. But no matter how old he was, he landed on me with all the force he was capable of. My first thought was, “Wow. I’m glad that foot is paralyzed. If it weren’t, I’d be in a world of pain.”

All this happened so quickly that neither Fluffy nor I was able to grab the little boy, or even say anything to him before he disappeared down the hall. As the kid marched off, just as proud of himself as Godzilla would have been after squashing the Empire State Building, all I managed to say was exactly what I’d been thinking: “Gee, I’m glad that foot is paralyzed instead of broken. If it weren’t paralyzed, I’d be in a world of hurt.”

(Technically, I’ve learned that in my own experience there’s a whole lot of pain associated with being paralyzed. Everyone thinks that paralyzed = numb, but my “numbness” has been associated with enough screaming that I got private rooms in all my hospitals. But that’s a column for another day. For the purposes of being Godzilla-stomped, let’s assume that because my foot was “only” paralyzed, it survived the attack pain-free.)

Suddenly a woman appeared. “Did that little boy just stomp on your foot?” she asked.

“He sure did,” I said.

“That’s my son,” she said.

This is where the story gets weird — because the story ends here. Mom did not look at my foot to see if it was bleeding. She did not ask me if my foot had been injured. She did not say, “That’s my son,” in any way that indicated she was:

  • Embarrassed by Godzilla’s rampage;

  • Ready to inflict the Wrath of God on her son;

  • Weary of her son’s antics;

  • Proud of her son’s creativity, or

  • Counting the seconds until she could tell her husband they were going to have to move out of their brand new ward because she was too humiliated to continue living here.

She did not do any of those things. She matter-of-factly said, “That’s my son.” And she walked off.

I told the story to the ladies sitting next to me in Relief Society. We all decided the fault did not lie with Godzilla. We may not like to admit it, but stomping on the feet of women in wheelchairs is what little boys do. It is probably written in the Little Boy Job Description, somewhere between “playing with matches” and “running around naked in public places.”

No, the fault lay with the mother, who just may have owed me some explanation for her son’s foot-stomping behavior (“He’s being raised by wolves”) or some sort of apology (“I’m sorry if he injured you, but at least he didn’t use his machete this time”) — or maybe just some concern, even if it was fake, as to whether the Empire State Building had suffered pain from the feet of Godzilla when he had stomped it to smithereens.

I wonder if Mom will be just as nonchalant when Young Son knocks over his first convenience store. “Yes, officer, that is my son wearing the ski mask, holding the assault rifle, and sporting the CTR tattoo on his right arm.”

For my part, I did the only thing I could do. I tried my best to put the dear sister’s face out of my mind, so if she does continue living in our ward I will not recognize her or Godzilla if I come in contact with them again. On second thought, maybe I should try to remember Godzilla for the safety of my feet and other body parts. When I see him stomping down the hall, we can quickly take an alternate route to our destination.

This is the kind of thing that happens when you live in a ward. Anyone who is looking to be offended could find a new source of offense every week. But life is too short for that, so it makes a lot more sense to laugh off the potential offenses and realize that people — even good people — still make mistakes every day of their lives.

But this doesn’t mean that young Godzilla will be at the top of my Christmas gift list this year. It’s probably just as well. I have no idea what to buy for a lizard, anyway.


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About Kathryn H. Kidd

Kathryn H. Kidd has been writing fiction, nonfiction, and "anything for money" longer than most of her readers have even been alive. She has something to say on every topic, and the possibility that her opinions may be dead wrong has never stopped her from expressing them at every opportunity.

A native of New Orleans, Kathy grew up in Mandeville, Louisiana. She attended Brigham Young University as a generic Protestant, having left the Episcopal Church when she was eight because that church didn't believe what she did. She joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a BYU junior, finally overcoming her natural stubbornness because she wanted a patriarchal blessing and couldn't get one unless she was a member of the Church. She was baptized on a Saturday and received her patriarchal blessing two days later.

She married Clark L. Kidd, who appears in her columns as "Fluffy," more than thirty-five years ago. They are the authors of numerous LDS-related books, the most popular of which is A Convert's Guide to Mormon Life.

A former managing editor for Meridian Magazine, Kathy moderated a weekly column ("Circle of Sisters") for Meridian until she was derailed by illness in December of 2012. However, her biggest claim to fame is that she co-authored Lovelock with Orson Scott Card. Lovelock has been translated into Spanish and Polish, which would be a little more gratifying than it actually is if Kathy had been referred to by her real name and not "Kathryn Kerr" on the cover of the Polish version.

Kathy has her own website, www.planetkathy.com, where she hopes to get back to writing a weekday blog once she recovers from being dysfunctional. Her entries recount her adventures and misadventures with Fluffy, who heroically allows himself to be used as fodder for her columns at every possible opportunity.

Kathy spent seven years as a teacher of the Young Women in her ward, until she was recently released. She has not yet gotten used to interacting with the adults, and suspects it may take another seven years. A long-time home teacher with her husband, Clark, they have home taught the same family since 1988. The two of them have been temple workers since 1995, serving in the Washington D.C. Temple.

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