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comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  522 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 16, 2017

My daughter wrote me a card, unprompted, during her "quiet time" (she's moving away from naps) that says "Daddy I leev u". She's four and a half. "Love" is a tough word to spell when you're four. She's learned how to send voice texts via WhatsApp so she bombards me with quick little 'I love you so so so much' snippets five or ten at a time when my wife picks her up from camp. Meanwhile she's grown two shoe sizes since I left in June, is big enough for a booster seat and is apparently ready for a bicycle with pedals.

And here I sit, a thousand miles away.

I finished Dreamland two days ago which made me realize my neighbor overdosed last year. He and his wife have been on disability for chronic pain since 2003; it would be asymptotically unlikely for them not to be on oxycontin. Which could explain some of the economics of the place; there are eight people in there but only two of them work and they're putting on an addition, despite the fact that apparently they haven't gotten a settlement from his death yet. This is particularly troubling as their nine year old (on the spectrum, maybe some other stuff going on) is my daughter's most common playmate. He's brought lighters over before, and his dad visibly beat him in front of my daughter when he was discovered to have ripped up some disability checks. The kid's 16-year-old uncle lives over there too and last week he was walking around shirtless; we got to see his whipping scars.

It's not an emergent problem. But it is a problem. On the one hand, we're reasonably certain that we are the kid's one source of vegetables (he eats with our daughter often) and likely a principle point of stability in his life. On the other hand, he's the most immediate vector opiates have into my daughter's life, and their house is a tragedy unfolding. There is no good solution here that makes things happy ever after. And it eats at me.

On the plus side, I spent lunch yesterday with a 2nd generation watchmaker with 40 years experience and signed up for an engine turning class, apparently the only engine turning class in the United States, which happens in December just down the road from me.




goobster  ·  522 days ago  ·  link  ·  

A dear friend of mine befriended the two little girls next door to him, who were clearly not being fed regularly or attending school regularly, and were on the path to be meth heads like the rest of their family.

Eventually he formally adopted them. His wife disagreed with his decision, and left him.

He died last year.

The two girls are now both in college, and use his last name as their own. He set up trickle trust funds for them, so they have a little base income and a leg up on the world.

Feeding the neighbor kid vegetables is only part of your gift. He also gets to see what a real family is like, and what a real home can be like. Maybe that's enough to break the chain of destitution that his family clearly hangs from.

You are a good man, my friend.

thenewgreen  ·  521 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    And here I sit, a thousand miles away.
I feel you pal. This summer my kids have lost their first teeth, learned to ride a bike, how to swim, my daughter swam to the dock - a big deal. My kids are growing and doing a lot of firsts and I'm gone.

My wife is also 7 months pregnant. I feel awful about this.

I tell myself it's all worth it. Well, it had better be. SOme things can't be replicated, some things are just gone forever. I'll never be able to see my son take his first ride without training wheels.

That kills me.

AnSionnachRua  ·  520 days ago  ·  link  ·  

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon...

I hope you get to spend some quality time with your family soon, tng. And congrats on the new one coming!

thenewgreen  ·  520 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thanks old friend.

I will make it up to them soon. I'll be much better than the dad in the Harry Chapin song :)

tacocat  ·  522 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I think one reason I value your opinion the way I do and can enjoy reading a comment you make here that I don't agree with at all, just as an example since I can't think of an example of that, is there is always a healthy consideration you give to a great many things. Or at least I've come to perceive that from you.

So that comment in particular is not obviously something I could relate to because we are kinda vastly different even if we seem to find common ground pretty often. But honestly, with the knowledge over here that I can sometimes seem incredibly full of shit because I will say things that may seem so saccharine it would make me sick if I heard someone else say it, my heart breaks a tiny bit when I read that. Not that it's particularly insightful on its own or sentimental. Maybe because I see things in it that I can relate to incredibly indirectly. And frankly the opiate problem as a topic is something I've become well acquainted with through no effort on my part or from being in a part of the country where it's worse.

Meh. You're a good man, Charlie Brown. I guess a lot of people want your advice but I don't know if anyone has ever just said keep it up. Whatever that's worth from me to you

kleinbl00  ·  522 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thanks, man. I appreciate it. All I'm doing is sharing my processes.

Gonna go put some .308 through an M1A. I suspect it will not lend any clarity to anything.

tacocat  ·  522 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I know. I just like how ya do it.

And when you unleash a screed against someone I feel deserves it, it beautiful.

I found a nuanced, complex person on the internet. It's like I saw a unicorn.

Yeah. I think you got the point a while ago and after that I'm kinda just masturbating

Isherwood  ·  521 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You and thenewgreen are breaking my heart.

Children are becoming very real shadows on my horizon and, while they were off in the distance, I feared them being born with genetic defects or dying from something outside of my control.

While those things are still scary they don't inspire the deep gut fear that comes from the thought of disappointing my potential offspring. I don't even have them and it makes me sad.

Sorry man.

francopoli  ·  521 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Just remember we live in arguably one of the best times ever to be alive. Crime is very low, most health problems have a solution, child labour is non-existent and there are amazing things happening in all facets of technology and work and engineering.

Its easy to see the world as shit because shit sells ad copy. But we humans just sent a rocket to a space station and landed the booster back for reuse. We are using AIDS to, if not cure at least fight, leukemia. Heart disease, cancer etc are now on the run. The biggest mass murders of humanity? Polio, measles, smallpox? They are now epidemics if 100 people contact the disease. The kids born today are going to look at the early 2000's the same way we look at the early 1900's when nobody had electricity or running water and infant mortality was in the order of 40%.

Things get better.

kleinbl00  ·  521 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I didn't want kids for the longest time. After all, I was a complete fuckup. My parents, who have three bachelor's degrees, a Master's and a Ph.D between them, really fucked things up. I had met many a broken human whose catastrophes were clearly caused by their upbringing.

But the thing is? Common sense goes a long goddamn way. Golden Rule takes you the rest of the way. And the little ones start out from a baseline of loving you unconditionally. Early on, whatever you do it must be right because you're doing it.

I've had a crisis of faith because the kid is so easy. This says one of two things:

(1) I was a truly horrible kid, well beyond the abilities of my parents to deal with me

(2) They were truly colossal fuckups, the depths of their incompetence previously unguessed by me

So either I hate myself more, or I hate my parents more. But my kid? She's got no hate for anyone, least of all me.

Yours won't either. They'll think you're the greatest daddy that ever lived, until you're older, and then they'll probably take things on balance.

steve  ·  520 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    My daughter wrote me a card, unprompted, during her "quiet time" (she's moving away from naps) that says "Daddy I leev u"

One of life's finest pleasures right there.

himanshoo420  ·  521 days ago  ·  link  ·