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The battle lines were drawn.  Mom stood firmly against the kitchen counter, and I held my ground across the room.  Our eyes locked in combat.  Mom and I had never warred until recently, and I was the initiator of the battles.
Part of me watched as an observer, wondering why I was behaving in this way.  It was as if I wanted to see just how far I could go and where Mom would set the limits.  I was testing her authority.
A few days earlier, after mouthing off and running to my room, I had waited, with heart pounding, for the footsteps I fully expected.  I was sure, like Dad, Mom would appropriate to me the spanking I deserved.  I waited, but she never came.  I knew I was guilty and needed punished for my actions.  With my right hand I spanked my backside as hard as I could and said out loud, “You behave yourself, and don’t act like that again!”  I sounded just like Dad.
Now, my actions were warring again.  I was standing my ground defiantly.
Mom’s eyes narrowed.
“You little Lucky!” she said with disgust.
Her words cut me with rejection.  I knew what she meant.  I reminded her of my real father.  She identified me with Lucky, the man she had never loved.  Recently she had told me how much I reminded her of him.  I had waited for her to say something good about him, but she never did.  It she didn’t love Lucky, and I was so much like him, did she love me?  Was I a constant reminder of a marriage that she regretted?  Before Dad died she may have thought of me as “her daughter” who needed extra love and attention.  As far back as I could remember she had talked and shared with me.  I had known I was special to her.  But now, there was something different between us.  I felt I was losing ground.  The sand was shifting under me and I couldn’t find solid rock to know I was loved as before.  No longer did I feel close or special and I missed it!
I also felt she was growing in partiality to Bronco.  I hated the jealousy I felt and the guilt that came with it.  I loved my brother and did not want any ill feelings towards him.  The only reason I could find for Mom’s partiality was “Dad.”  Mom had loved Dad, and Bronco was his child.
As Mom stared at me and called me, “little Lucky”, her words fortified my growing insecurities.  She had won the battle through the weapon of rejection.  She may not have known she was the victor, but I walked away defeated and wounded from the battle.  My heart was closing. 
 It would be twenty years before the balm of healing would heal the abscess, but for the time being, in my mind, the circle had been broken....
  It was no longer Mom, Bronco and me...I stood alone!