My neighbor across the street is a single mother who is about ten years ahead of me. She is a mother of three, a boy, a girl who just graduated from medical school and got married, and a girl who is just set to start college in the Bay Area.
The youngest is nine years older than mine. She taught me how to put in a car seat. Sometimes she watched my boy as a 'mom's helper' so I could cook and do projects around the house.
As neighbors, we are close.
So I saw 'Monica' (name changed for privacy) alone going into her house. I walked over and said hello. She looked sad. Her last daughter is leaving soon. That wasn't it.
Her heating and air conditioning needs to be replaced--it costs six thousand dollars. You have to pay up front or the contractor won't do it.
She doesn't have the money.
That's not what is making her sad.
Her daughter, 'Esperanza', wanted her father to walk her down the aisle.
He paid for nothing.
- no child support
- no alimony
- not one dime for the wedding
Monica has worked every single day for the last ten years to support her family, with only one ten-day vacation to Paris and Spain, about five years ago.
I hugged her and said, 'She is immature, and she probably didn't want to look funny in front of the new family....'
Monica agreed. But she kept crying...
She isn't sure how long she can stay in the house; there isn't enough money.
She wants to rent out the youngest daughter's room, but it's fully of stuff ' Patricia' isn't ready to throw out.
And Patricia who doesn't have enough for college, is throwing a garage sale in the hopes of making some cash from her 'treasures'.
I asked if I can ask a personal question?
Monica said, yes, and kept trying to keep from crying and sobbing, silently wiping the tears from the corners of her eyes.
I asked, 'Now that your kids are all eighteen, do you still have to talk with their father?'
A huge smile crossed her face, and with the pride only a Latina can communicate, she looked me in the eye and said, 'Never!'
She was free.
This is a big day in the life of an ex-wife and single mother.
She earned her freedom from the marriage at last!
She thanked me.
You know, that wedding was paid for mostly by the paternal grandmother of the groom.
But the mother bought all of the bride's needs, plus the cake, and the flowers. Flowers cost thousands of dollars nowadays. But she knew somebody and got them all for twelve hundred dollars and she had to help decorate the church.
And Monica's boy and girl have taken so very much money for their educations! The son went to a 'party school' state college in a big town not too far, and lived on campus. And the doctor went to Big Name undergrad and medical schools. She and her new husband are both starting their residencies. They won't be making much, and soon the loan repayments are due.
I know some physician couples who live in Menlo Park whose combined loan payments are bigger than the payments for their house!
In Latin culture, the children support and honor the mother. They give money to her.
And Monica would like for the two older ones to 'help out' with the youngest for her education, instead of honoring herself.
But she doesn't know how to ask; none of them have appreciated all she has done for them.
She showed me a letter from the bride. It was postmarked with the new town a four-hour flight away.
It was a printed, 'new address' card with a photo of the couple.
It said, 'Hi mom! I miss you.'
There was no thank you or anything.
I am torn. When I was a resident, it took everything I had to concentrate on getting through. I never went to family events, like baby showers and the hospital when my niece and nephew were born. I was always working...and exhausted...
How can I communicate that to Monica who is suffering and not able to understand it's not a reflection on her?
How can I communicate that last night, at the mini golf for my boy--we went at eight p.m. when I was post-call--I felt like a freak?
I couldn't relax and 'have fun'?
I looked at everyone like a sociologist, an anthropologist, a physician, thinking, 'wow! there is apparently a physical need to have fun. That makes sense with the huge emotional bodies this type of humanoid creation has, it has a need to interact socially, and to play together this stupid game with sticks and balls and very challenging cups.'
My boy responded to the others. Those playing before, and those playing after. A nice trio of college boys were calling him 'Caddy'...and when I got a hole in one, everyone gave me high fives!
That's what medical school training and twenty years at the front lines will do to a person...you give up your right to have fun and play.
The best part of the night was when my kid hit the green golf ball into the water feature. As he ran to get a new one, I used both the clubs, and all my ingenuity, to fish it out. I rolled it delicately towards the wall, up the rocks, and to reaching distance.
That was a challenge and succeeding at it was fun!
I kept the golf ball. I put it on my grid. LOL
As we Ascend, together, a time shall come where we have to face 'reality' and all its untruths.
This is one today, about the wedding, and the education, and the gratitude.
You might want to think about how we can undo the slavery of Monica, the scoundrel of the ex, the desire for the children to make a good start in the world turning into a big of 'entitlement' wouldn't you agree?
And how together as an enlightened humanity, take steps to fix it?
She Works Hard For The Money by Donna Summer
Aloha and Mahalos,