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Gift from Hil Part 2 - 2014-12-30
A Gift from Hil - 2014-12-28
There was A LOT of turkey. - 2014-12-04
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1:03 a.m. - 2010-11-03

It's getting late. It's already cold and I am sad. Of course about the election results, fear and stupidity take the day again. It's wearying to be part of a nation so very determined to live down to its worst and most self-defeating behaviors. I console myself with the poor sop that humans have ever been thus and it's really nothing new. But this immigrant's child, one who came of age during an economically trying time, whose lifetime has so far been bracketed by wars waged for profit and paranoia rather than in defense of liberty or even good hunting lands and other necessities, was also once a believer. A believer in a country of freedom and opportunity. If my life was tracked by war, it has also had enormous hopeful things like the moon landing and the Civil Rights Act and in many important ways the establishing of footholds of social and economic parity for women (however badly that's been squandered since the late 1970s, yo, tell your daughters to put some clothes on, willya?)

I believed. I believed in all that corny shit. In fairness. In decency. In that raising up the least among us raises all boats. In the Golden Rule. It's a bitter thing to accept that I was wrong about my belief. Makes me feel foolish that my faith was so misplaced. Makes me wonder why I fought so fiercely to be good and kind when everything about my early life gave me excuse and license to be a selfish hate-monger. To be an utter turd of a human being. Right? Who better? Beaten, terrorized, sodomized, raped, abandoned, undermined, humiliated, neglected and taken advantage of in so many hurtful ways beyond what those who hadn't grown up in a hell like mine can barely comprehend. If I didn't have permission, or least a reason, to be a cruel vindictive abusive jerk, who did?

Yet, my faith, my idiot faith in essential goodness, even if, especially if, I hadn't gotten any personally, was what kept me going.

I don't believe anymore.

No, it's not just the elections and the gleeful triumph of those who happily gloat in their own downfall just because they are too blinded by their fear and ignorance to understand that getting 'us' hurts themselves just as badly. It's my own experience that's forcing me to reassess and give it up already.

It's my sons.

The one I gave everything I had. The one I busted my ass to not just give things (though there were plenty of those), but intangibles like never missing a karate practice or a band concert, dinners as a family with the TV off and the conversation varied and interesting. Trips to museums and beaches and movies and cities and aquariums and battlegrounds and zoos. It was trekking into New York City every year so he could play his baritone as part of Merry Tuba Christmas on the ice in Rockefeller Center. It was indefinitely deferring my dream of going to Europe and using the money for his college education instead. It was teaching him to play poker and to shave his face and drive a car. It was not once missing Open House or a parent-teacher conference. It was putting his school picture in a big gaudy frame. Every goddamn year. It was forcing myself to be patient when I was aching to scream and snap. It was getting up and walking again when I was so weary and only wanted to lay down and die.

And for this he spits on me. Turns his back and scorns. Closes himself off and refuses to believe in my love. Hoards grievances and resentments. Holds my missteps and flubs against me and rejects the overwhelming good and kindly intention that came his way.

It's the younger one, the unexpected one who changed up my life and set it back to the starting line when I thought Id finally rounded the bend toward the finish.

The fights. The tears. The exhaustion. The shaky self-doubt. The testing. The expulsions. The hospital. The nine endless days of "Yellow cup, yellow cup." The refusing to use the toilet until age 5. The grinding on and on and on of teaching him to speak. And then to listen. And then to respond sensibly.

It's day after day after day after day of listening quietly to the same pissing and moaning and bitter selfish complaints and trying yet again to reach him and convince him to take the broader, kinder view. To open his mind and his heart, not to prove anything to anyone else, but so he can be at ease. So he can learn to find some perspective and self-comfort.

It's offering the last treasures I have. Like my battered copy of 'Johnny Tremain', one of the scant few relics I had from my own wasteland of a girlhood, one of the very few things I had and got to keep. A treasure. A beloved.

And he carelessly let it go to pieces in his bookbag. Then chucked it out and didn't think it was even worth telling me about until tonight when he waved around a new copy that his fabulous father had bought him and boasted about how great his dad and his spandy new book were.

My copy of 'Johnny Tremain'? The tattered paperback I'd had since I was 11? A book I once wrestled my image-conscious mother for to prevent her from throwing it away because it wasn't classy-looking enough? It wasn't showy or pretentious enough to merit space even in the privacy of my own bedroom bookshelf?

He ruined it, broke it to bits and threw it out and never said a word.

It simply didn't matter to him. It didn't matter I'd offered up my special thing. That I'd given it to him in hopes of sparking his interest in a great story, in our country's history, his mother's history too. That out of the 1,000s of books in this house I'd given him that one because it was a worthy story to do his quarterly book report on and as an object had meaning far beyond the words within. I'd told him it had been mine for almost 40 years. And that I loved it. And to please be careful with it, enjoy it, but be careful.

And it didn't mean spit.

Not that it was a special thing to me. Or that I loved him so much I trusted him with it.

That I believed.

Believed he understood. Believed he cared.

Wolf doesn't care. Alex doesn't care. America doesn't care. My love, my belief is fucking worthless.

I am a fool. ~LA

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