Community

June 18, 2008 at 1:37 pm Leave a comment

I was talking with the X on the phone yesterday. She was explaining how she had been opposed to capital punishment before we had the Kid but now she could totally see the relevance of it. Her take was that it was societies business to externalize the revenge that anyone would feel if something horrible happened to someone close — like a child. She waited for me to agree. When I didn’t immediately assent, she asked me point blank to affirm her sentiment. I said, No, that I preferred forgiveness. I know that I was changed in some profound way by the reaction of the Amish community to the senseless slaughter of their dear ones a few years ago. At the time, I had thought — Yes. That is the way to be. The X then informed me that this indicated that I couldn’t really love my child. Well, that’s how she is.

We were discussing the subject of revenge and hurt to loved ones because the Kid came back from camp yesterday with a fairly significant injury. Chris made a bad decision and had the kids walk up from the creek through a stand of pampas grass that sliced at their legs. The Kid has more than usually sensitive skin and his legs were pretty cut up. The X, predictably for her, was ready to turn Chris over to DSS. And that left me in the position of trying to acknowledge that the Kid had sustained an injury, that Chris had shown poor judgement, but that it didn’t quite warrant closing down the entire summer program. I get into those places often with the X — and partly it’s why she’s an X.

But since we have a child together I don’t get the option of walking away and I’m not always as good about forgiving her for her nature as I hope I would be with some random murderer. I think, honestly, that it would be a bit easier to forgive a stranger for a one-time affront — no matter how savage — than to keep being cheerful about dealing with the day in and day out ugliness of interacting with the X.

I know the hatred and bile comes from fear. And I, too, have my own set of issues in trusting the community. The first time I left the Kid in childcare I didn’t leave. I sat there in the childcare room with the childcare provider for the entire hour. But the next time I did leave. I’m disappointed in the poor judgement that Chris showed yesterday. But the Kid went to camp this morning and that’s going to keep happening.

We have to trust community because the alternative is no alternative.

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Entry filed under: Parenting, Piedmont.

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