Saturday, August 15, 2009
Not Losing Hope
In all the scuttlebutt activities of the last few weeks, all the issues and challenges, problems and activities, I'd really meant to link this article Sarah'd told me about from Michael Pollan. If you eat, you need to read it. It's a long article, one that points out so much that we don't think about as we eat and prepare our meals.
When Cristy was first adopted by me, between her teenage anger and angst madness, she taught me how to make flour tortillas from scratch, insisting the difference was phenomenal, and she was totally correct. However, with my large family and a thousand other demands, I've never had time to do it right, instead buying stacks of tortillas each week at the grocery store, like all the other Mexicans I notice around me at Wal-Mart. Even that big box store has altered, has adjusted it's buying habits to serve a large Hispanic population, so many once hard-to-purchase items are found there now with absolute ease.
I want my life to boil down, to be pared slap down to the basics. I want to glide around, to be obsessed with putting wholesome food on the table, to thoughtfully consider where it comes from, and how it'll benefit one's health status. I also read The Unclutter on a regular schedule and this post particularly spoke to me.
It's kind of an upside down day, when the spoken thoughts of a son linger in my mind, but Edgar was fairly plaintive yesterday, pointing out gratitude as the ingredient lacking in some of my children still at home, especially in his own three youngest siblings who have such a genetic mean streak in them. I think even just a simple acknowledgement of what I do for them might be more on target, but to say it aloud only means they are voicing what others did not do, and that's a severe and primal wound. Not gonna happen, nor should I want it to, as I truly want my kids to move past the pain.
We'd bought these silly twin t-shirts several weeks ago at a yard sale. A deputy had called my cell to check on us after a particularly threatening communication had been received by me. I'd stopped there in someone's driveway to reassure him we'd made it through the night, my wide-eyed daughters trying to act as if they were not eavesdropping, quickly posing for a picture instead.
I do not confide in my children who live at home with me. They are kids and it's on a need to know basis that I'll let on to much of anything. Sarah and Yolie are my obvious confidants. Is that fair to the rest of my children? Well yes and no. Cristy and Gina prefer to remain one step removed, as the stress can be contagious and intolerable. It's not that I don't confide in the others, it's that Sarah and Yolie have willfully chosen to fill this particular role. They both offer a great deal of insight, encouragement and help.
I felt silly last night, my friend Emily and I were texting like teens. Both of us over 50, both of us are grandparents, and this felt ridiculous, yet it's hard sometimes to talk on the phone as we both have huge demands placed upon us. Instant messaging with another mother as well, while cleaning up the kitchen after a large dinner, and tending to CW, putting on another load of laundry, while at the same time hugging kids who felt they'd been cooped up at school all week, left little time for much else. My dern phone had to be plugged into the wall to accommodate the load upon it last night.
I can blog very quickly. I dump it all out, proofread lickety-split, and don't sweat the mistakes, the comma splices or misplaced modifiers, my point is to regurgitate in a meek and mild effort to comprehend that which I see going on around me.
The criminal mindset has come to baffle me beyond belief. The glorification of thug life, the atrocious deceitfulness, and the rampant lack of a conscience that I see in society is played out here as well, leaving me stunned all too often.
The lying and the stealing is shocking. I'm singularly glad that I've raised four kids from scratch, from birth they've been nurtured and taken care of, the difference between them and others that were not so fortunate is massive. Dr. Mandy has studied this area a great deal and has often emphasized to me how critical it is, this early emphasis on emotional development versus the severe deprivation experienced by too many of my children that will likely penalize them for far too long.
Does this mean it is hopeless? No, I don't think so, only that it has taken me so very long to compensate for their losses. Edgar was repeating much of what I'd taught him over the years, not becoming my son until he was 13, quite the charmer which can also mean a manipulator, but also able to somehow absorb much of what was taught. In contrast, his baby brother, JoJo, has had so much more time with me that he has forgotten the years of neglect and danger. JoJo lost out on the critical first two years with a mama, so the combination of both situations has left a confused 12 year old here with me. One minute raging and fighting, the next minute he's literally crying in my lap, emotionally immature, needy and frightened.
I kinda miss my very naive years, back in the 1980s, when I thought love and nurturing would undo everything. I had fantasies of Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving scenes, with our large kitchen and family room. I dumbly thought I could host wonderful get togethers someday. I just didn't comprehend I'd end up with criminals and those who'd seek to do us harm. That restraining orders would be necessary stuns me still.
Am I always correct in my assessment of kids and situations here? Oh heck no, that's why I seek out so much help and levels of understanding.
Again we have a bell curve here. One third of my family will probably be outstanding, and I'll preen as if it were a huge credit to me, one third will be absolutely average, up and down, making it fine in life, but not necessarily excelling, and I'll be OK with that as well. The bottom third frightens me, as the thought of career criminals or marginal members of society, is just not what I initially envisioned as I wanted so much more for them, for them to break the generational dysfunction into which they'd be born.
To further simplify, all I ever truly desired was for all 39 to live decently, above the law, and to eventually make it to Heaven someday.
I have most certainly not lost all hope of that, even though I very loudly and quite dramatically despair at times. I deeply appreciate the listening ears of my readers and the prayers of course.