Friday, December 21, 2007

Trying so hard to mind my own business …

My nephew is in second grade. He's smart, happy and funny. He's excited about Christmas because he still believes in Santa. He loves his Mommy (my kid sister) very much and is much closer to her than to his dad.

My kid sister has had a bad year. Her husband was out of work for several months, and they didn't have any savings put aside. Now that he's got a job again, they are struggling to get back on their feet. I'd be a lot more sympathetic if she got a job herself, but somehow that never occurred to her. It's not my business. I bite my tongue. I keep to myself. My input is not welcome. (My cash, yes. But input, no.)

It's so hard to keep my trap shut after last Sunday, though. I was telling Nick about Tina and Devin, the kids I bought gifts for as part of a toy drive. Tina's favorite color is red and she wants to go shopping with a Target giftcard. Devin's favorite color is blue and he loves SpongeBob.

Nicky said he thought those were "expensive and silly things to ask for when you're trying to keep from starving." I was shocked.

He went on to tell me how his family "had" to buy a movie theater gift card and an alarm clock/CD player for "poor kids" through church. "Mommy said she didn't want to, but if she didn't, everyone would think we were Scrooges." That is soooo my kid sister! It doesn't matter if you ARE selfish -- only whether or not people think you are selfish.

I told Nicky that I had fun buying and wrapping Tina's and Devin's gifts, that it made me happy. I told him that maybe carrots and a blanket might have been more useful, but who wants useful Christmas presents? Shouldn't kids like Tina and Devin have a little magic on Christmas, too? He was clearly getting confused -- starting to feel disloyal to Mommy -- so I dropped it.

But this conversation hurt my heart, and I just can't stop thinking about it.

He's a sweet boy. A generous boy. He made a deal with his parents -- he would drop out of the lunch program and bring his lunchbox throughout the month of December if they gave him the money for gifts instead. It bothers him that Santa won't come for his big sister this year (she's in high school) and he wants to fill her stocking himself so she won't feel "left out" when he goes through his stocking on Christmas morning.

But he's also his mother's son, not mine. I have to respect that. Be careful what I say, and try to teach him by example, not word.

Friday Fiver #1

I found me a new meme! And you know how I love my memes. I'm surprised by how aggressively not Christmasy this one is.

1. If you could change your name, what would it be? Lady McCartney. I understand it will soon be available again.

2. What is the worst name someone has called you? It's strange, but I can't remember a specific name. My father once told me I had no sense of humor. That stayed with me because that has never been true and it made me sad that he understood me so poorly.

3. If you could meet someone famous, who would it be? I'd like to tell Elizabeth Edwards how much her book meant to me. After all, how often does a book change your life?

4. How do you like to travel home? I take the train to the office and then back home each day. I'd prefer a private car and driver, but somehow the agency doesn't think I'm worth it.

5. What kind of phone to you have? LG cell. GE cordless landline. There! That's something I've never written about before!

For more Friday Fiver information and answers, click here.