Things look promising for this new year coming up!
Hubby is depositing a couple of rebate checks and cashing in on a $50 win on a holiday scratcher. I listed a bunch of books on Amazon Marketplace last night and sold 3 already. And it's payday for me :-) Maybe these sound like minor bits of money, but it is certainly a step in the right direction, considering how things have been for the last two years for us. I won't bore you with the gory details, but it hasn't been fun.
Things aren't starting out so well for our son, however. He went out Friday night with a friend to a club in downtown D.C. (one of my least favorite places to be at night). He has gone down there many times, against my wishes, but what can a mother do? He's twenty years old. He is 6'5" and strong, an imposing figure to be sure. He always laughs off my silly worries with a chuckle and a "Crazy mom" comment. Well, he learned an expensive lesson Friday night.
Thieves came by the street where he was parked and busted out passenger side windows, grabbing anything they could out of the cars in a quick run. My son's car was hit, as was his best friend's car. Because we have comprehensive coverage on his car, the window is covered. The iPod they stole from the glove box is not. He has an awesome care stereo system they would have taken, too, if they had been thorough. He has an XM Radio hooked in and had just bought the hook-ups to run his new iPod (our Christmas gift to him) into the stereo. He thought that putting it out of sight was enough. Not so.
He sheepishly told hubby about this incident when I was in the shower Saturday morning. I came out and found them stretched out across the bed, somber. I think I took the news well. Hubby thinks I came down a little hard on the kid, especially since he had already filed a police report, called the insurance company, and taped plastic over the broken window. I didn't get angry. I was upset that the special, engraved iPod we got him was gone. He bought a new one on his credit card, which didn't make me feel good either. I told him that this is why I said D.C. isn't safe at night. That this is why I worry when he goes down there. I didn't even mention what it might do to our insurance.
He likes to learn lessons the hard way. He learned the hard way last year when he wrecked his car in a single vehicle accident going up to see his then girlfriend in NJ. Hitting a patch of black ice, he spun out and went up over a curb. It was a $4000 accident. He learned his lesson about college the hard way, going immediately to an expensive private aerospace college in Florida. He had never been away from home before, and he became very homesick and depressed. When he came home for the holiday break, he stayed. He didn't quit school, though. He went to the University of Maryland and lived in the dorms there for a semester. Finally he decided to live at home again, working at the local Starbucks and attending the community college. Next fall, he is going back to the University of Maryland, planning to live off campus with friends who are also going there.
Still, he has been an easy child. Very easy. I'm okay with him learning his lessons. He is figuring out who he wants to be, but I am so terribly upset that he had to learn that people have such a dark side. I could see something change in him. No longer did he feel that his imposing presence was enough, because he wasn't there when the thieves struck. No longer did he feel safe being in downtown D.C. at night. He likes his things. He is very particular about his gadgets. It hurt him that someone had so little regard for his property that they would damage his car and steal his Christmas present. I wish the world was what I want it to be for my kids.
It is very difficult to find compassion in my heart for someone who broke a part of my son's spirit. Yet I understand that right now the economy is in a horrible slump. Parents who are mired in poverty only keep getting more deeply buried. Their children suffer because the parents are working multiple jobs just to keep the bills paid, much less provide any of the baubles the kids see on television. Much less take a Disney vacation! ("%1600? We can do that!" "Oh yeah!") Do you know how long it would take someone to pay for a vacation like that living on minimum wage in the projects? How about never.
The messages we get from television are that we should have big screen TVs, iPods, Wii game systems, McMansions, home gyms, media rooms, expensive furniture, HD DVD, Blu Ray, blah blah blah. We need this drug for ED, that drug for constipation, another for anxiety (maybe because we are working too much and making too little, maybe because we can never slow down). No wonder kids who have so little end up envying those who have enough. Instead of having role models who show them how to overcome poverty and have a good life, they have role models on the street corners, drug dealers who are driving Hummers or Cadillacs. They feel the only way to have anything is to take it. Rob from the rich.
Writing this, I realize I do have compassion. These people are a product of our society. If everyone had enough, there would be a lot less crime. I'm not saying we should be a socialist state, but we're the richest country in the world and yet the gap between the haves and have-nots is growing exponentially. I hope the person who felt so compelled to rob my son ends up with whatever he or she thought they needed. I hope they feel some pang of guilt in their heart and that they also encounter a new path in their life.
I hope each of us has a happy and prosperous new year, even if it is only winning $50 on a holiday scratcher.
Peace - D