Sunday, June 18, 2017

There Is So Much We Do Not Know

My husband has pointed out that my Facebook post about Thing 2’s friend, drugs, alcohol and guns was rather vague. That someone might think she was somehow involved and injured or something.
That was not the intention.
She was not involved any way.
She is not physically injured in any way.
But her heart hurts. Greatly.

And there is so much we do not know.

What we do know is a small amount of what is, no doubt, a large story.
There were 2 boys.
Friends to each other.
They were partying together Wednesday night.
They both slept at one of the boy’s houses and were the only people there.
Thursday morning, at 6 a.m., there was “an altercation.”
There was a gun.
Now one boy is dead and the other is in jail.
The shooter is her friend. Someone she knows well.

There is so much we do not know.

When she was an infant, we lived in a small house in a declining neighborhood.
We moved to avoid any problems with guns, drugs and violence.
We stretched ourselves financially at the time to move to a nice neighborhood, believing that would shield us from the problems that come in “certain areas.”
We were wrong.
As it turns out, there are guns and drugs and violence in all neighborhoods. Even the ones nicer than ours.
And no matter where you live, that toxic combination is a powder keg. All it takes is one match.

There is so much we do not know.

In Hollywood, it is all so clear. The line between Right and Wrong, Good and Evil, is so clearly marked for you.
Shooting always follow a formula. Either the shooter is an evil person who shoots the innocent out of the blackness of his heart, or he is a righteous person who shoots the evil ones in order to save the innocent, thereby becoming something of a hero.
It is so hard to explain to a 16-year-old that Right and Wrong can be a fluid concept. That the rightness or wrongness of your actions can change from moment to moment in a situation. That you can be Right, until the moment you are Wrong and vice versa.

And still, there is so much we do not know.

The story was all over the local news. Her social media feeds exploded since most kids in her orbit, meaning her school, knew at least one if not both of the boys.
He’s a Murderer!
It was Self Defense!
Maybe both are true. Maybe neither is true.

There is so much we may never know.

I have met “the shooter” several times. He has been in my house, I have given him rides to and from school. There are things I know about him from my own personal observation.
He struggled in school.
He played baseball and ran track.
He was constantly trying to get back on track to graduate.
He wanted to join the military.
He was unfailingly polite. Always.
He was a country boy through and through.
He was making bad choices with drugs and alcohol.
He had a gun.

I never knew the boy who died. My daughter didn’t either, but from mutual friends since he was killed, there are things we have learned.
He struggled in school.
He was perhaps coming back to try and get on track to graduate.
He had a big smile.
He had a lot of friends.
He was making bad choices with drugs and alcohol.
He had a gun.

There is so much we will never know about them.

There are things I know without knowing them.
I know that right now there are two mothers who have been ripped open to their core. Two mothers who will never recover from these events. Two mothers who have lost their sons, one literally, one figuratively.
There is a mother nearby right now choosing clothes to bury her child in.
She most likely wakes in the night, wracked with grief.
There is a mother nearby right now choosing a lawyer to try and save her son.
She most likely wakes in the night wracked with fear.
There are brothers, grandparent, aunts, uncles, friends and neighbors of both boys who are shocked. Saddened. Who will be forever changed by this.

My daughter will be forever changed by this.

There is so much more, but we do not need to know.

So I try to help her navigate her grief and fear for her friend, while learning the lesson that is so apparent in this all.
That there is nothing that could have happened to start this altercation that was worth this. That, if they could, they would take back whatever was said, whatever was done, and let life continue as it was before.
That nothing good has ever come out of the combination of drugs and alcohol.
That adding guns to that mix is surely the most efficient way to make sure something awful happens.
That violence doesn’t help your situation, it makes it worse.
That it is important to choose friends who share your same beliefs on these things so that you do not find yourself in an unimaginable situation.
That when you know people are making bad choices, you need to walk away.
That people can be nice, and funny, and enjoyable to hang around with at school, but you will still need to walk away.

There is so much we do not know, and nothing we can do.

I explain to her that what is done, is done.
There is nothing we can do to change anything.
There is nothing we can do to help anyone, as we have no actual involvement in these events, but rather we are just witnesses to them, the same as strangers from across town.
There is nothing we have to offer except prayers.
So we pray for the families.
We pray for peace in their hearts.
We pray for a lessening of their grief.
We pray for wisdom for the police officers investigating.
We pray for the truth to come out, whatever that may be.
And I pray for my daughter’s heart.

There is so much….
That we do not know
That we will never know
That we do not need to know

What we do know is enough to know that we will be forever saddened by these events.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Very Gross Mystery starring My Family

About 20 years ago some girlfriends and I went to an exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum. I don't remember now what it was for, but I do remember that we had to get advance tickets and wait in line, so it must have been a good one. Since we had paid to enter the museum we were free to peruse the other exhibits, permanent and rotating, while we were there. We went into rotating modern art installation that has been burned into my brain ever since. *Disclaimer--I do not now nor will I ever understand the point of most modern art, much to my mothers chagrin.* The particular piece was called something like "My Life" and it was a collection of things this person had used during certain time frames. For instance, there was a large display of a years worth of newspapers, and smaller display of something like three years worth of used coffee filters, etc. In one of the last lucite cubes was something that took a moment to register between my eyes and my brain. It was years-YEARS- worth of this person's toenail and fingernail clippings. It was one of the grossest things I have ever seen, and I have kids so I have seen some pretty gross stuff.

So, on the heels of the other days Toenail Gate, I have been informed of some stunning developments in my house.

For the casually uninformed, Toenail Gate is when I discovered that someone had clipped the guinea pigs toenails in my office and let them fly all over my office floor without picking them up. As an update, the people involved in clipping said pigs nails have denied all knowledge of this and claim that one of the 2 cats must have come into my office and purposely ripped off their toenails on my rug. Seriously. That's the claim. Whatever people.

Anyway, that evening The Hubs and I were out having wine and hummus (because this is my life so I deserve wine!) and I asked him if he was aware of the Pig Toenail Saga. What happened next I may never recover from.

Hubs--Yes, I saw that. But I have to tell you something. I almost pulled over and called you. 
Hubs--Well, there's this thing that has been happening. All the time, like at least once a week. I am finding these nail clippings on the bathroom counter.  I thought it was you and I wondered why you didn't just throw them away. I even thought about leaving them there for you to deal with but it was just too gross, so I throw them away myself.  It has been happening forever.
Me--SWEET BABY JESUS IN A MANAGER! OF COURSE IT IS NOT ME! Dude! I cut my toenails maybe once a month since they grow so slow and I have long fingernails!
Hubs--I get that now, but I really don't understand it.

At this point I am absolutely done in. I have no words. I have no thoughts. After 48 years and 3 kids, my brain is finally fried beyond repair.

So, we get home and I put on my best SVU-Nail Clippings hat and try to determine what the actual hell is going on. I quickly determine it is one of the other 4 people living in my house. (I'm clever like that)

These were actually on my bathroom counter when I got home!!

-- It is not my mother. Her room is downstairs and she hardly ever has occasion to come upstairs, let alone to be in my bathroom
-- Pretty sure it is not Bonus Daughter. She always has a manicure and I almost NEVER see her in my bathroom.

That leaves Thing 1 and Thing 2. Oddly enough, both of these two have fingernail issues.

Thing 2 picks her fingernails and toenails and has since she was little. Badly enough that her fingernails are usually stubs and her toenails are regularly ingrown.

Thing 1 bites his nails and has since he was about 9 years old. How do I know? Because sometimes we go places together and sometimes I sit next to him and when I do it takes every single iota of willpower I have not to slap his hand away from his mouth while screaming at the top of my lungs because it drives me up one wall and down the other.

So, that leaves only one possibility. 

Have you figured it out????

The last thing I can determine is that these mysterious clipping might be.....Thing 1's toenails.


The idea of a fully functioning, intelligent 19-year-old leaving his toenail clippings on my bathroom counter, mere inches from the trash can, on a nearly weekly basis, is enough to give me the vapors.

In this moment I am inclined to question Thing 1 about this. However, it turns out that his best friend is over hanging out and playing video games and it occurs to me that a middle-aged Italian woman running down the hall in her pajamas ranting and raving about toenail clippings would not give off the Martha Stewart-esque vibe I am going I refrain.

Then, when he is waking up and barely coherent the next morning, I pounce. And of course, he thinks I am crazy. He has his own clippers in his bedroom and clips over the trash can...which simultaneously makes me happy that he is not insane while also making me crazy over these damn nail clippings! I proceed to question every one else in the house and they have no idea what I am talking about.

So now I am constantly checking the bathroom counter and looking for any evidence of misdeeds, but I afraid we may never have an answer to this mystery--which is fine as long as the damn trimmings never appear again!!!