We have more than enough greedy people who collect, take, keep, hoard, and have a "MINE" mentality. This is true. It's part of human nature.
There are plenty of generous, giving, charitable, altruistic, "it's better shared" people, and I am eternally grateful to know and be related to a lot of them.
I love my weird family, which extends to people not born in the family, but have become one of us.
We are, among many vices and virtues, what they call "generous to a fault," giving away things when we really cannot always afford to do so, donating, sharing, insisting someone else take whatever it is, when mayhaps we're not in the best financial condition, but preferring to be rich in spirit.
Speaking of that fault, here's an example that smacked me in the face like an icy snowball this morning, during the last GREATbigHUGE snow dump of #Chiberia 2014.
The curtain rises in a western suburb of Chicago. A family wakes to the last HUGE dump of overnight snow, making for another hellacious commute to work for the breadwinner. We must scramble to clear the driveway so he can get at least get out and get on his way.
Okay, we've trained for this all winter.
We know the drill by now.
We coffee up.
Check the news for 411.
Husband heads out to shovel.
I wake the teenager, give him options:
"Either you go outside and shovel, or you wake up and wait in the living room for when the babies wake up."
After repeating this louder and louder and LOUDER and other various tricks I have to do to wake the zombie that is my son in the morning, he picks the babies.
I gear up and head out.
No second shovel. WTF? We have 2 along with a bunch of other North Pole type shit for morning emergency situations like this. WHERE IS IT? I look everywhere, garage, around the house, did it fall in the bushes?
And of course, OF COURSE I know what happened. What always happens when something is broken/missing/just plain old NOT RIGHT?
I just know he's involved somehow.
He's always involved somehow.
Besides the fact that he's the root of all Comfytown evil right now, he also helps a friend of his dad's with snow removal for cash. His friends, far more ambitious than he is, have also borrowed our shovels to go door-to-door asking if people need help shoveling for cash. They always bring them back, so this is fine.
I go in the house, ask him what up with the what up, and he explained the guy he's been helping shovel has it.
He goes on to explain, like it's a totally rational thing, that he didn't GIVE it to him, he just borrowed it to him because he didn't have enough shovels. Oh okay, he has our shovel but he's just borrowing it. I mean, it's March, I'm sure he'll be done with it soon. Because it'll be freaking SUMMER soon.
Something about his cavalier, unapologetic attitude, and my husband and I having to early-morning shovel again, and now I can't EVEN help my poor husband, who has never been anything but kind to this a-hole teen, who has provided him with everything he needed, and more than he deserved, and spent HOURS
helping him with the math homework I could not help him with, and because his actual father can't be freaking bothered, now once again because of this kid, that is not even his son, he's going to be late for work.
Because of this struggling boy, who has always been in his face, breaking his things
losing his things
destroying his things
having a parade of friends over to do the same,
borrowing his his things without permission,
learning the hard way.
Something about all the years of all bull-teen-shit, and the ungodly number of shenanigans he's put us through lately, it all just started warming and bubbling up in me in this one moment like a tea kettle on the highest burner setting.
So I'm a little stunned and start rambling shit like
"Oh, by all means give him OURS. I mean, that's why we have things, right? To borrow them out to all of your friends, and everyone else library-style. I mean, we are MADE of money and have a lifestyle where we never need to take care of ourselves and ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?"
The next 5 minutes or so are a blur of seeing red spots, and yelling so loud I had to tune out my own voice, and waking my 2 younger kids, and yelling so loud that my husband and neighbor could hear me outside. When my husband explained the situation, my neighbor IMMEDIATELY came over with his snow blower (thank all the gods) and started helping my husband clear our tundra of a driveway. THAT is how loud I yelled at him.
Now, normally I would say that was an over-reaction.
Like all of the eleventy billion super annoying things my teenager continues to do on any given day, this one thing, is just the straw that broke my camel's toe on this given morning.
His superpower is taking millions of tiny, normally mildly annoying things, piling them on top of one another, making them even more irritating, making our lives immensely more difficult, and instead of apologizing, turning the conversation into a fight and pushing all of my buttons, so I snap. This way, he can somehow feel mad at ME, instead of feeling bad about what he knows he did wrong. This is a special skill he learned from his father. Which you guessed it, makes it all the more irritating.
I feel zero guilt at yelling, getting it out and at least putting the aggrivation where it belonged. At least I didn't swallow the frustration, give myself more teen-caused acne, gray hair, stomach acid milkshake, or even worse: take it out on the innocent little ones. My mother yelled at me when she was mad, even when she wasn't mad at me, and you know what? I learned, WAY more quickly than my teenager, not to piss her off.
I don't know if my teen son is even capable of learning this, it really doesn't seem so.
The thing that I imagine kept me from really snapping and looking for a weapon 'no more wire hangers' style is the fact that I know he did this out of generosity, more than not caring about us. He doesn't always think ahead, but he is always very generous.
I do actually love this about him. He is the kind of person that will give you the shirt off his back and in MY family that saying is not just a saying.
It's literally a particularly amusing story that is an example of what I'm talking about.
|Tangent of a circle from mathwarehouse.com|
My niece and I visited my godmother in LA about 15 years ago. We went to a party where my niece innocently and genuinely complimented a party guest on her shirt. It was a real doozy, an interesting pattern of bold primary colors that was clearly from the 80's. This woman we came to find out, either got it from a thrift store, or perhaps still had it from the 80's because she did not need to shop for clothes.
This was woman was a nudist. I'm sure she still is, but anyway, she was visiting from wherever it was that she lived as a grateful, happy nudist. When my niece complimented her shirt, she immediately took it right off, no bra on underneath, revealing an interesting-looking scar and an unequal pair of breasts. My niece was a teenager, but being an adult would not have made this any less ... memorable, because I was an adult, and I'll never forget it.
She explained the scar was from a surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, that she never would have found if she were not a nudist. She noticed a mole on her chest had changed, she said she would never have noticed it and known that it changed appearance, if she weren't a nudist.
I maintain she may not have had a melanoma in the first place if she had a shirt on, but I'm not a doctor. Just a fan of clothing. For so, so many reasons. But, live and let nude. I don't live with her, so I don't have to look at her crooked eggs all day, more power to you lady! Plus she was an amazing, unforgettable, generous loving person. She insisted my niece keep her shirt. And my godmother insisted she put another shirt on. And it was a lovely, super fun party and great memory.
This is only one of so many examples of times when my people have given to others items of clothing, slippers, accessories, books, an e-cigarette, all kinds of things to people randomly during conversation.
"No really, take it, I don't need it" or
"It looks better on you" or
"I can get another" or
my most often used:
"I got it at a thrift store for like a dollar."
It was kind of our thing for awhile after the nudist story.
I have always shared these stories with my son. Like the time I tried to give a father walking with his kids in the rain my umbrella. I was driving, saw them running as the sudden rain started to fall harder and harder, and knew I had an umbrella in my backseat. I parked, had to run to catch up with them and try to give it to the dad, but he wouldn't take it. "We're almost home, thanks anyway." Then I felt like a creepy kid-watching weirdo, now dripping wet and he didn't even take my umbrella, but whatthefudge, I tried.
So I really do appreciate that he has this giving, generous nature and is not a greedy collector, keeper, non-sharing possessor of all the things.
Soooo HE LIVES (for now) to annoy another day.
I do however plan on making him repay us for giving away this item without warning, or asking.
I will take it out of his next paycheck and/or drive him to the credit union that houses the account with his (right now useless) college money in, and lecture him the whole way there about NOT just giving or sharing or borrowing things that are not YOURS. Especially without a word to the owners.
He won't care, he will be more than happy to pay for it. I have fought the always uphill-battle of teaching him about consequences, but I'm certain this will be just another in the many things he's done in his life that was worth the consequence.
I will also deliver part 947 in my seemingly never-ending lecture series about "Not Driving Your Parents Completely Insane." That might be the most important lesson ever when you're mother is me, and Crazytown is a really short trip from Comfytown.
In conclusion, I feel like maybe sometimes, in certain circumstances, YES. You can be too generous. Especially with someone ELSE's things.
Have you or your family or children ever shared things with the universe like this? Or in a GOOD way?