This Space For Rant
When HBM put out the call for a bitchfest round-robin, I happily signed on. We all need to let it out, and sometimes our very own spaces are not the safest place to do so. (hi, remember my first blog, pulled down when I no longer felt I could write honestly there without being judged by someone close to me?) So, I offered my space for rant, to whomever felt she needed it.
Turns out, my tennant is a gem. Not only did she keep the kitchen clean and put the furniture back where it was before she left, but she kicked my sorry ass with her honesty, sensitivity and sagacity. Here I am, thinking I'll be posting a vent about somebody's m-i-l or boss, or why John McCain is an even bigger idiot than we first thought, and instead, I got a big ol' helping of perspective. And it tasted way less bitter than I expected it to.
So the kids put a hole in the new LCD TV. Not a big one—a pin poke in a black cloth. Star in a dark sky. Very small. Nothing compared to the volcano that will erupt when my husband gets home to find that his one true love, the one over which he fawned for months, is whole no more. He will freak. And I will feel guilty. Not over the damaged television…over buying a television that costs more than the GNP of a small country.
We, I, want what’s best for our children--the things that will make and keep them happy--the things that we may not have had as children. These things I want for my family, plus happiness, love and freedom. But the things, the emotional things I want for them, are often shielded over by the fact that I want. Despite all my best efforts, I am a Capitalist at heart. I try to make myself believe I can live without the trappings of modern life. I yearn for the freedom I perceive would be achieved by living in the wilds of Alaska (not a deserted island…too much risk of spiders and other large bugs that thrive in humidity and heat). I raise chickens and for the moment feel like Mother Earth because of the poultry roaming my suburban backyard. But therein lies the rub: I live in suburbia. Complete with minivan, two kids, a black lab and a two-story Colonial. Suburbia has firmly ensconced itself in my being. And I am consumed with guilt.
So my rant is not focused on another person, but on me. On my failing to tear my spirit from the want of objects. And when those objects begin to fail, my husband and I feel like failures. The children damage the LCD TV and we’re heartbroken that we will forever see the minute flaw. My husband does a slow roll into another car and we’re devastated that our car is no longer perfect. The dog’s too long nails leave long grooves in the hardwood floors and we cringe every time we have to walk over them. These things control our lives and our emotions.
I am all the more consumed by the guilt of consumerism because the daughter of a good friend is dying of a tumor on her brainstem. The child is five, barely two months older than my son. They have played together, worshipped in Sunday school together, and she will most likely not live to the end of next year. I’m convinced her parents do not care one iota about the condition of their things. They are completely hyper-focused on the now, on the truly important things in life—those things that are not things.
I later found my husband, post damaged television announcement, in our bedroom holding his head in his hands repeating the mantra: “My kids are healthy, my kids are healthy,” putting the event in perspective. This is the man who puts his hands over his ears and hums whenever a bad story about a child comes on the news. He gets it. The television has not been mentioned since—the hole barely visible. The insurance company is handling the car accident and told us not to worry about—that’s why you have insurance. The grooves in the floor add character—the dog adores the children, putting up with ear tugs and tail yanks no other dog ever would. And I realize how to rid myself of the guilt…perspective. I would give all I own to ensure the health and safety of my family. I would live in a hovel, surrounded by the bugs and spiders I fear. So, tomorrow I will go out in the garden and hold a chicken. How can anything be wrong in the world when you can walk out your own back door and hold a chicken? And I will try harder at being a better person.