My daughter has two children and is pregnant with her third. She’s also works full time as a nurse, and she just returned to school to become a Nurse Practitioner. She’s really busy. I go to her house on Wednesday and Friday mornings to take care of the kids, and while I’m there I’ll do things that need doing. A load of laundry. A sink full of dishes. Whatever I find.
This drives my daughter crazy. She appreciates it, but she feels like I shouldn’t be cleaning her house. She says, “You do too much already.” Then she says the thing that really matters – as if I needed her to explain herself: “I don’t have time to do it all, so I let the things sit that can wait, and I don’t do the things that don’t need to be done. I’m OK with that.”
I didn't watch the Super Bowl yesterday. It's just not my thing. Normally it would have been on at my house, because my wife is a rabid football fan, but we respected Super Bowl Silence this year since she's still bruised over the Packers.
I was peripherally aware that Katy Perry was doing the Half Time show. She's a talented young lady (though not an artist I follow much), so I assumed it would be entertaining. Yet, when I looked at my Facebook feed at the end of the day, all I saw was Katy Perry bashing. A lot of it. People - adults - complaining that she's not talented, she's an offense to music, she’s worse than every other available singer, and that the NFL was stupid for hiring her. How tiresome.
Last week we were out to dinner with my daughter, grand-daughter, and my daughter's boyfriend. We were making family plans for the following weekend, and at the mention that the following Friday was Valentine's day, my daughter rolled her eyes and her boyfriend instantly stiffened up.
"What's up with Valentine's day?" I asked.
This year Pope Francis washed the feet of women, the disabled, prisoners, and non-Catholics. A symbolic and archaic act to be sure, but no less radical now than it was 2,000 years ago. To wash someone's feet is to submit yourself before them; to say that you are no more important than they are. I am not a Catholic, but this act of humility speaks to me; it inspires me.
I spent the past week in Las Vegas at a trade show. I saw many acts of kindness, friendship, and even love. Trade shows can be such an exciting time as friends and business associates across an industry gather together for what may be the only time each year. But trade shows are also a microcosm of the world we live in, and if you are aware, you will see many instances of jockeying for power and position.
Both my 29-year-old daughter and my 22-year-old son are in the midst of navigating their most serious relationships to date and I am removing myself from a friendship that wasn't what I thought it was. Of course, we are always in the midst of relationship activity, but this is a lot new and changing activity at once. Which provides a terrific opportunity to reflect on the nature of crazy as it relates to the ones we love.
We were watching a television show the other day, and one of the characters purchased a $10,000 bottle of champagne. I wondered, "How many people in this world actually have the palate to appreciate the difference between a $10,000 bottle of champagne and a $1,000 bottle of champagne?" I do believe there are some folks who could genuinely taste the value and experience terrific joy from such an investment. And assuming that a $10,000 spend didn't create hardship for themselves or anyone else, more power to them. I certainly do not have that palate. I enjoy all products of the grape, but I know the limitations of my sensibilities. For me, my life would experience no greater benefit from the $10,000 bottle than it would from the $1,000 bottle. So defines the extent to which I am willing to spend money on champagne.
Four people that I trusted and cared about really let me down in the last few months by being greedy, selfish, ungrateful, unkind, gossipy, victimy, a bit crazy, etc. You know how not-fun that is, because it happens to everyone at some point.
But yesterday, I caught myself telling a dear friend that I was having a hard time trusting people. Which is weird, because I'm a trusting person. We're talking Pollyanna status. So I thought about it, and I realized that my perspective may have become inappropriately skewed.
Motherhood, even the most well-intentioned versions, is messy, filled with mistakes, and infused with worry. We are told from our earliest days that it’s not supposed to be those things. Television and popular culture tell us – have always told us – that successful parenting is simply a blend of a strict-but-loving mother who can handle any crisis with a wry comment and a dose of practicality, and a loving father who backs up mother and throws in a pinch of discipline as needed.
As a society, we appear to have no skills related to argument. What's that you say? We argue a lot? Actually, most people quarrel rather than argue, though they may do so without physical involvement or raised voices. In fact, most people do not know what argument is.
This is unfortunate, because we need good, productive, challenging argument - in our family life, in our businesses, and in our shared communities. Argument is supposed to be the act of thinking together. Of both offering and considering persuasive ideas backed by facts and observations in order to advance our understanding.
I get so tired of these hateful memes bashing SNAP recipients. The best data out there suggests that less than 1% - that's 1% - of SNAP payments are used for fraudulent purposes. So for every 1 (likely middle-class according to the data) SNAP fraud perpetrator, there are 99 people just trying to keep their kids in cornflakes. If they have a tattoo, they probably got it before they lost their job. If they have a cell phone, so what? We all have a need to have a phone - you can't even find a payphone any more. And does being dirt poor mean you've lost your right to have a beer once in a while? If we're such a Christian country, where the heck did our compassion run off to? And why are we so vested in bashing the working poor? There but for the grace of God go I.
What makes a person believe that others owe him or her more than they owe in return? People who constantly borrow money from others but never pay it back, people who expect others to bail them out from problems they have caused, people who will do anything to get their own way, people who are indignant when they break the rules and then have to suffer the consequences -