Okay, this is the last one - I swear. I even pinkie swear. With peanut butter fudge and maraschino cherries on top. I mean it this time. I thought I was done, until I read something that made me change my mind.
This is an awful story, and I'm just as horrified by it as the next guy, but it really strikes a note with me in light of recent events. An eleven year old boy in Pennsylvania has been accused of shooting and killing his father's pregnant fiancee as she slept in the house they all shared, along with her two children from a previous relationship. Various family members have been quoted as saying that there had been jealousy issues in the past, and some have even claimed that the boy had actually threatened to harm the girlfriend. And what does his dad have to say about all of this?
According to the defense attorney assigned to the child, the father is "a mess" and "had no indication that his son had a problem with [the fiancee]. He's in a state of actual shock and disbelief."
Why am I not surprised?
I'm not making light of his shock and grief. This whole thing is a god-awful tragedy and it's probably going to get even worse in days to come. Something tells me (based on too many days brainstorming with the Social Workers lately at work) that there are some seriously funky family dynamics at play here. But how is it that so many other family members knew there was a problem and the dad had no clue? Was he really that ignorant, or was he so preoccupied with keeping his Southern Default Brain satisfied that he couldn't be bothered to pay attention to his own child's emotions?
This is not a rhetorical question. How the hell does something like this happen?
I know men who are amazing fathers. Men who are totally tuned into their kids and what they're feeling and needing. Men who have no problem putting their kid's needs in front of their own. But I have to say, in total honesty, that these men are by far the minority. A whole stinking bunch of them are just clueless when it comes to their own children. They're so busy looking out for Number One that they forget all about Mini Me. No doubt I'm a little sensitive to this right now, but how could you not be just outraged by this story?
And in the same vein, but with a 180 degree twist, I humbly admit to all of you who commented that you're totally, absolutely right and I need to let go of the whole idea of a lost 21 years. Of course they weren't lost. I wouldn't be the person I am without the experience, I wouldn't have the perspective and world view that I have, and most importantly, I wouldn't have the three overgrown rugrats that make my heart go pitter pat on a regular basis. I have to get over this notion, and I will. It's all part of the process, but I'm sure I'll get there. I've already got a pretty good start.
I took my new Shuffle running today and forgot that I had loaded on this song that I loved way back in the 80's. And as I kind of zoned out and ran, I thought that this song did a pretty good job of saying what I have so much trouble spitting out. (And how about those 80's music videos, huh?)
And now, I'm done. I promise.