Family Matters



I drink cranberry juice in a wine glass. It makes me feel like I’m drinking a real glass of wine. The color is similar and they both taste good in small luxurious sips. I’ve always loved the way my favorite wine glass feels in my hand. The wide bowl, the narrow delicate stem, the weight in my hand. There’s something very grown up about sipping something from it, even if it is super sugar concentrated fruit juice.

I had one of those days. A day where you light a candle and take a long hot shower in the dark. I can’t drink wine so I’m having cranberry juice in my favorite wine glass and I’m playing soothing music from my itunes. It makes me feel better or at least like I’m taking care of myself. I get so overwhelmed with the every day troubles and I see myself disintegrating and making things worse by just getting mad at people who can’t change anything. It’s pointless. Sometimes I just wish I could flip a switch and transport myself somewhere else. Mostly so I stop causing more damage to a an already bad situation.

I’m sure some of my frustration today has to do with hormones but a lot of it is situational. I’m just overwhelmed by the class difference in my own life. I go from one extreme to the other. You read that right. I’m talking about the difference between being wealthy and poor. Today I baby sat the Things and I attended a birthday party in a garden so extravagant that they had a pool made from rocks. There was a water slide and a cave to swim into. Even the sink in the bathroom was a work of art. I catch myself in awe over the simple things like the soap in the soap dish and the floor that is made of cross-slatted pieces of exotic wood. I am in awe of the birthday cake that is fancier than a wedding cake in Martha Stewart’s Wedding magazine. The topper was so elegant, it looked like an exquisite package made from icing with a giant pink bow and striped wrapping paper. It was for a four year old.

Right after the party I talk to my mom on the phone and she tells me how she’s going to have to pay late fees this month because she can’t come up with the last hundred dollars of her $400 mortgage payment. The people who’s party I attended today spent more on their party favors than my mom pays for her house! How can this be? How can one day I be on a luxury yacht admiring the shiny polished wood and the next telling my mom I can’t loan her a hundred bucks! And it’s not just like my mom is the only one having money trouble. She’s just the only one who won’t care if I write about it on the internet. Life has always been hard financially for my family but we’ve always been proud that we are happy and full of love. Happiness is greater than buying things any day.

It’s just sometimes I just can’t get my head around things. The anthropologists talk about class difference between races and different cities and countries but nobody ever talks about the class difference inside families. How is it that one sibling can go to college and get a good job and make it to the other side of the tracks while the other drops out and loses job after job and has three kids and and ends up on welfare or homeless? Should the successful sibling help out the down and out sibling? Blood is thicker than water, right? When is helping not helping? When is it the poor sibling’s own fault for making bad decisions? Could helping that sibling out time after time only perpetuates their bad decision making? Should the successful sibling feel guilty for having better luck? Should we just spread the money around and all end up sort of better off than the poorest member of the family?

I can’t answer these questions and they make my head hurt.

Something else really bad happened today but I can’t blog about it. I just want to mention it because it’s not really the issue of class differences in my family that is driving me to drink cranberry juice. But it does factor in.