As I’ve said I’m an only child and like anyone else I view the world and people from my own perspective. These are my opinions and observations. They may or may not be yours. We are each unique individuals with unique experiences and situations. Consider that a disclaimer if you don’t agree.
Growing up I didn’t get away with much. I learned pretty quickly that it made no sense for me to try to lie my way out of something. The dog didn’t leave the milk on the counter, crumbs on the table or a wet towel on the bathroom floor. I learned to be accountable for my actions. Basically there was no one else to blame. I think this left me with a certain level of intolerance for people who try to get away with stuff. Think of them as rule breakers (not really criminals since they aren’t breaking laws). My truth and justice meter is set pretty high as is my level of compassion. It leaves me outraged more than I probably should be. It also leaves me disappointed in people quite a bit. I work hard to avoid the extremes of all feelings.
The Husband comes from a big family. He is number two of seven children. He and number one are twins. I have spent 35+ years as part of this large group of people which continues to grow as the nephews and nieces marry and have children. The observations I made from the early years still serve me well as I navigate the relationships. My MIL was an only child. She probably could see on my face how overwhelming the chaos of a large, loud family was for me. I quickly learned the different personalities and dynamics of my eventual in-laws. I observed all those things parenting books say about birth order. To this day the dynamics are the same even though everyone (5 siblings- the 6th passed away about 10 years ago) is married with their own children.
By nature I’m an observer. I think it comes from not having the distraction of someone to play with when I was young. Or maybe it’s just the way I’m wired. Maybe I’m a little shy in a crowd. Here is a crazy example. When my MIL was going downhill I said to The Husband something about the boxes in the attic at her house. He had no idea what I was talking about. I reminded him of the day nearly 20 years before that we visited and his brother was helping his father put boxes in the attic with a ladder through the opening in the ceiling in the living room. He had no memory of what I was talking about so he asked his brother, the youngest of the boys. He said he had no memory of that but there is an access to the attic in the ceiling in the living room. After my MIL passed he was curious and went to look. There were the boxes for the eldest 14 grandchildren, those who had been born when the boxes were placed up there. My BIL was shocked I remembered this event. He participated and had no memory.
I’ve been observing the things going on in my country for ever. There is a tone set by the leaders that reverberates down through the people. The way they speak to us. The way they act towards each other. The way events play out. It’s all very much like observing a family. They may not be related but they are forced to interact with the dynamics set forth from their position. While I don’t have specific individual memories of the assassinations of John F Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, I’ve seen too many documentaries so my memories are overwritten, I do remember the palpable feeling of sadness and loss. People who should have continued to make an impact were gone and as a society we had lost a great deal. I do have crystal clear memories of September 11, 2001. The shock, sadness and vulnerability are still right below the surface. It just takes a mention of the date to bring the feelings right back. At the time I said 9/11 was our JFK assassination: we would always remember where we were and how we felt.
The events playing out today feel different. There is no united feeling of the people. Sure there is sadness, indignation, outrage, confusion and nearly every possible feeling but there is no unity. We are like kids whose parents are getting a divorce. We are all confused and unhappy. We’ve picked a side based on the information we’ve been given. Maybe you think from your observations that Dad (democrats) is right and he should be given custody of the kids. Maybe you think Mom (republicans) is right and she should be given custody. No child knows exactly what their parents relationship is. Yes we know how they act in front of us. We hear their arguments. If we’re lucky we see the gentle touch on a shoulder. In the worst case we see fists flying. What we don’t know is how they are when we aren’t around. We don’t know what is influencing them from outside. Does Dad have a girlfriend he’s seeing on the side? Does Mom flirt with the butcher to get better cuts of meat? (I know dumb example but you get the idea.) What we as a people need to realize, just like children whose parents are getting divorced, this isn’t our fault and we need to work together for ourselves. Mom and Dad are too busy with their own agendas to work together in the best interest of the children. They’re much busier with each other and they’ve forgotten to give us our allowance (where are those bigger stimulus checks?). They don’t see the children are suffering. They’re pulling out all the stops to be the one that wins without considering we could all lose. As the children we don’t know their individual motivation. As the children we don’t know if what we see is the whole story. As the children we just have to stand together, no matter which side we’re on, and hope the adults come to their senses and start behaving like adults. In the end everything will work out. But until we get to the end it’s going to be a bumpy ride.