family

I should know better by now

Sometimes we expect more from others because we would be willing to do that much for themAs the awesome singer/songwriter Emma Wallace once said, “Pumpkins don’t turn into a coach anyhow. But I still grow ‘em in my garden patch, though I should know better by now.”

The same thing can be true of family. I should stop expecting anything, but sometimes, it’s hard to realize that people that are supposed to care just don’t.

My son just turned 16 this past Sunday. He had a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese because he loves it. Pictures of the events, showing him enjoying himself, went live on FB.

My sister saw the images. She even commented on one, noting how much fun he looked to be having. But she didn’t say happy birthday. 

No one in my family did.

I admit, my family is pretty small: I only have a sister and a father, and I’m not exactly close with my father for various reasons, but just because I’m not close to him doesn’t mean that he can’t at least try to reach out to his grandson. His first grandson. His older grandson. He didn’t. My sister didn’t.

I don’t even ask for presents for him, although that would certainly be nice. But a simple “happy birthday” on FB, in a text message, or even during a phone call would make a difference.

Sending a card, I think, isn’t too big a deal either – a stamp costs less than $.50, and if you go to the Dollar Tree, you can buy a cute birthday card for $.50, too. A dollar. Spend a dollar. I don’t think that’s asking for a lot, really I don’t.

The problem with all these things, though, is that they all expect the person on the other end of the situation to set a date in their phone or write a date on a paper calendar. That’s the effort I think is lacking. The simple act of remembering.

So, it’s another year of nothing.

Nothing.

I should know better by now.  

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I’m an asshole

judge ornament - morguefile - davidpwhelanI caught myself being one of those people

You know what I mean, right?

Those people?

That’s right.

I caught myself being an asshole.

I was at Target. I was in a hurry. And Target – being Target on a school day around 2 p.m. when all the moms are trying to buy their groceries before their kids invade their houses again – well, Target was overwhelmed and understaffed.

In front of me was a woman, cart full of baby stuff. She had a super-nice Michael Kors bag, and she was using a WIC card to buy her baby stuff.

I jumped to the conclusion that she didn’t deserve the bag, that if she had the money for the bag, why was she on WIC?

Okay, I told myself. Maybe it was a gift. Maybe she got it from a thrift store. Maybe… Well, maybe it wasn’t my business in any way, shape, or form.

Just because she is getting help doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve some fun and some luxuries. It doesn’t mean that she should be punished and constantly struggling.

Why shouldn’t she buy a Michaels Kors purse? Why shouldn’t she buy Starbucks? Why shouldn’t she buy fancy dinners at steakhouses?

She isn’t any less worthy than anyone else.

If I could assume that she didn’t “deserve” her purse, why couldn’t I instead assume that she did “deserve” it?

Why couldn’t I assume that she worked hard – maybe harder than me and everyone else I knew – and that she was just screwed over by life? 

I hope she uses her WIC for all those necessary purposes and spends some of her income on nice things for herself. I hope she has a fun night out. I hope she has a good, reliable car that she doesn’t need to worry about. I hope she can take days off work and go to the beach, bring her daughter or sons or daughters and sons.

I hope that other people aren’t assholes like I was, and I hope that if they are, that they catch themselves, too, and that they remind themselves that it isn’t their business, either. 

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Boston

When I was a kid, no one ever knew what to give me as a present. They all knew I liked to read, though. So I would get books. Like the kind you would buy in bulk or find on the remainder table. Because it was too hard to ask what I liked to read. And people assumed that I would just read anything.

Well, yeah, they were right. I would read anything. One year, I got a book called “The Girl Who Wanted to Run the Boston Marathon.” And, it turned out, it was about lupus. (Yes, yes, I know, it’s *never* lupus. This time it was.) So the whole book was a massive downer. The girl was really a twenty-something woman, healthy as could be, who suddenly develops lupus and winds up in the hospital. And while she’d been prepping and ready to run the marathon, she’s stopped by this disease. But it all seems to be getting better, and she’s thinking she can run it, when, about ten pages from the end, she suddenly slips into delirium, becomes convinced the hospital is one fire, and jumps from the window, killing herself. And, yes, this was a YA novel. (Anyone else ever read it?)

Why am I thinking about that? I think you all know why. Because when tragedy strikes, it often reminds us of something else. And I mean no disrespect to the dead and wounded of the Boston marathon. I’m not comparing them to this fictional character who had a tragedy. But we so often connect to events through fiction, and to me, this book is the Boston marathon incident. It’s something that should have been good, but instead turned into tragedy. In the case of the book, it was something that just happened – in real life, someone made it happen. But is it really all that different?

So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the bombing. It’s just a random act of violence. Something that was inflicted against innocent people who were just going about their day, or in some cases, participating in something “bigger” than themselves.

I didn’t hear about it when it first happened. I was in meetings all day, and then someone came in and asked, “Did you hear about the Boston marathon?” And I could guess from her face that it was not exactly good news. But I hadn’t gathered how bad it was until I got back to my hotel room and could actually watch it on the news, see how horrific it was.

So while my heart and my thoughts go out to the people involved, I don’t want to say anything else about it beyond that because I don’t want the people responsible to get the pleasure of reading about the affect of their actions. I don’t think they should get to know how it makes people feel, beyond the physical suffering they can see. They can make us feel the suffering, but they can’t get my feelings to bolster their ideology.