Leslie's Omnibus

Bus Fumes

You still think the whole tainted Chinese imports thing is a coinky-dink? Yeah, right. Check out this and this. I'm telling you, if one of their products won't kill you, another one will. Let's see...

So far we've got tainted pet food, fish, toothpaste, honey, cough syrup and cosmetics, lead paint on toddler toys and defective tires. And they don't want us telling them that they need to meet our standards for their exported goods... not their own.

Oh, yeah... and if that doesn't convince you that they most certainly should not have most favored nation status with us, zip on out and buy this month's special edition of Vanity Fair, dedicated to all things African. Flip to page 126 for Enter China, The Giant, an article about China's interference in Darfur and why we can't get the U.N. to get involved more and tell me if that doesn't steam your Dim Sum.

Feels like Chinese water torture to me -- drip... drip... drip....

I'm still boycotting. How about you?
_____

I rarely ever disagree with Dr. Helen, but this post made me more than a little bit crazy.

Why?

First, a little background -- one of my million past careers was working as a legal secretary to a family law attorney. He was a good guy, and tried to deal fairly with parties on both sides of the equation. I know that people who go through divorces and don't go through mediation rarely , if ever, fight fair. Women lash out emotionally and do stupid things with their kids. Men fight like ninjas -- lightning fast and blindingly strong -- economically. Yep. Women aim for the emotional balls and men wield or withhold the wallet.

Still, I was also lucky enough to see some couples who were willing to put their personal differences aside and go through mediation, not because it was the easier thing to do (in fact, for many the impulse was to either kick ass and take names or run for the hills), but because it was the right thing to do for the benefit of their kids.

I also was married a million years ago to a guy with two kids from a previous marriage. This was a U.S. Air Force TSgt. who'd voluntarily done two tours of duty in Viet Nam. A guy who'd been Kennel Master at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa. A guy who'd been on the cover of Stars and Stripes as an Outstanding Airman of the Year.

Yes. All those things. But also the same guy for whom it was "too painful" to pick up a phone and call his own children, even though the kids were dying to hear from him. A guy who let me write the support checks and buy the holiday cards and gifts for the kids. To wrap them for the kids. Who practically forced him a gunpoint to sign the damned things. Who packed them up and shipped them off because it was "just to emotional" for him to do.

When his older child ran away from home so she could live with us, I was the disciplinarian, the bad guy who made us go to family counseling, the one who made her go to school every day, and who blew a major gasket when we found out she'd been seen, more than once, sneaking around the barracks in nothing more than a t-shirt and a skimpy pair of panties... and she was only sixteen. For her father, it was just too hard to look in her eyes and tell her that her behavior was unacceptable, and it would have to change.

In the end, he lost his kids because it was "just too hard" to reach out and be the dad they wanted him to be. And one of the big reasons he lost me is that I lost a tremendous amount of respect for him over this.

You don't get a pass on being a good parent just because it's "too hard" or "it hurts."

Spare. Me.

Yes -- I gave a child up for adoption. YES -- I made sure she had two wonderful parents who'd be exactly the kind of parents I wanted for her and couldn't be, due to circumstances that I could not change. No -- I never said, "Oopsy! Changed my mind." That's not responsible birth parenting, either. And, yes -- not doing that hurt like hell, too... but I gutted it out anyway, because I knew it was the right thing not to do.

When I was faced with being the responsible person, or knowing my stepchildren would be going without, I stepped up to the plate and did what needed to be done. Regardless of the fact that had no blood ties and no legal responsibility to them, their mother was angry as hell at my ex and he was guilty as sin about not being a good father, and it was not their fault that their own parents couldn't or wouldn't get their shit together.

I know it's been a year since Old Crankypants has been gone, but he and I once had a very intense email correspondence back and forth one of the times when he was blaming his young son for not seeing him more. I remember writing the words, "Who's the adult and who's the child here, Rob?" His answer was typical Rob -- "Fuck you."

And you know what? I lost a ton of respect for Rob the man that day. Rob the writer, I'll always admire, Rob the singer, son and grandson, too.

But not Rob the father. And not my ex-husband. And not any parent, father or mother, who gives up on their responsibility to their own children.

As adults we have a ton of resources including friends, family, counselors, priests, pastors, and pets to turn to for comfort. Hell, we can even pick booze or drugs or gambling or hookers for that matter.

But when our children turn to us for comfort and reassurance, they should damn sure find it when they ask for it.

Just who is the parent, and who is the child here?
Leslie

2 comments:

Livey said...

Love ya! Hugs!

Omnibus Driver said...

Thanks. I knew you'd be the one to get it.