Monday, September 6, 2010

Families

It's been a relaxing sort of weekend. I've worked, but I enjoyed myself. I guess the story of the day would be this: I watched a local lawyer and her husband walk through the store. As usual, she did not walk with him, but ahead of him, giving the impression that she was not with anyone at all. She seemed irritable and short with him when they came to the register. Their son stood off to the side as his mother harangued the husband, who had pulled out his debit card. She complained that she did not want him to use that card, that she was sick and tired of paying his bills. She pulled a wad of money out of her purse to pay for the transaction, complaining the entire time. He stood there looking at me with an embarrassed sort of half smile on his face. After paying me, she thrust money into his hands, complaining still. I stood there with their change, $5.01 to be precise, and she was complaining at him still, not noticing. The man extended his hand, and so I gave him that change, which served to anger her all the more, and I felt as if I'd done wrong. She sailed out of the store in front of him and her son. I'm sure it was not a pleasant ride home. I felt sorry for them all. I'm not sure what the man does for a living, but I've met him before. He is quiet. Seems like a sensible person, practical. This is a family who lives extremely comfortably. Yet for all that they have, what stands out the most is what they do NOT have. And can you imagine anything worse than being trapped in an unhappy marriage to a lawyer who handles divorces? Oy.

After work, Tim picked me up, and we went to a bonfire, and we visited, and I spent a large portion of the night sitting in a lawn chair with a little boy on my lap, a tired boy who was talking a lot simply to keep himself awake, I think. His head leaned into my shoulder as he talked about school and karate, and how smart he was and how strong he was, and I agreed with him again and again, laughing to myself. We talked about chicken nuggets and what we like to dip them in, and although I have not had a chicken nugget in years, I remembered that I liked them with sweet and sour sauce. He helpfully explained to me that he could do my homework for me, because he was quite good at homework. He wouldn't charge me anything for this service, and I volunteered to buy him ice cream for his help. This interested him. What if he did my homework every night? Pausing to think this over carefully, I said, "Well, I guess that I'd have to take you out for ice cream every night then. Considering this, he felt it fair enough. We grew quiet as I leaned my head back to watch the sparks spinning up into the black starry sky. "Do you suppose," I asked him, "that stars are just the sparks from all the campfires that there ever were? That maybe the sparks just went up to the sky and stayed there? Maybe that is why there are so many stars." His scientific little boy mind decided quickly that this could not be so. He's in second grade after all.

My children are all grown up, and I'd didn't realize how much I missed these things until last night, as I sat in the cool night next to a huge bonfire, savoring the feel of a little boy's head against my cheek, listening to a small child's view of the world.

10 comments:

Jill said...

What a wonderful way to spend an evening. Children can always make a difference in how we feel....their love is unconditional!
When you work in retail it is amazing how you learn to deal with these people...you have to bite your tongue and put a smile on your face no matter what the situation is.
Have a wonderful week.....
Jill.

Debby said...

Jill, I've been praying for you as you deal with the changes in your life. I check your blog regularly.

Kelly said...

Things definitely look different through their eyes. My third grade granddaughter keeps me aware of that.

Bob said...

The family you encountered at work -- they should work out these kinds of things at home, not in public. My wife long ago taught me we would not make scenes of any kind in public. Their situation seems sad.

Your evening sounds great, maybe just what you needed?

Debby said...

It's not only that these things should be worked out at home, in my opinion. It's just that really, this woman was completely debasing her husband in front of their son. What ideas do you suppose that he is forming about marriage? These things should be worked out in private, and really, the kids should be left out of it as much as possible.

Mostly what I thought was that if the situation had been reversed, that the woman was being spoken to like that by her husband, if it were a man complaining about being sick of paying her bills, while holding on to a huge wad of money, nearly anyone within earshot would have thought that the man was a controlling, tight fisted beast. It was kind of shocking to see the situation reversed, and I felt bad for the man and for the boy, and in a strange way, sorry for that angry, angry woman.

Debby said...

oh. And ps, Bob, I'm fairly sure that an evening like that is just what I need whenever it happens!

Pencil Writer said...

I'm no psychologist, of course, but yeah. I think all three of the people in the store where you work could use some help. But there are so many folks who are apparently miserable and only want to share it rather than fix it. I keep thinking that being grateful for all the blessings we have rather than focusing on what we perceive as being "wrong" we'd all be a lot happier!!!

And, I, too love those wonderful conversations with little boys (like my grandsons--and even with my granddaughters) are some of the bery bestest of times one can have. Priceless. Hope you get lots more opportunities to have such lovely times.

Chez said...

You have me mulling over several aspects of this Post.
Thanks Debby

BUSH BABE said...

A contrast in stories, for sure. Glad you soaked in that conversation - I need to document more of mine with my two. They say the darndest things... and keep us young.
:-)
BB

Dave said...

Sad about the unhappy family Debbie, but I really enjoyed your story about your time with the little boy - Dave