Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It's a Fine, Fine Line...

...between love, and a waste of your time.  This song lyric has been bouncing around in my head a lot this past week.  Production week of the play is yet another reminder of the insult and injury we have suffered at the hands of a very bitter, petty little man.  Maybe it would be easier if we were fully removed, but with a kid in the department, everything filters back home to us.  I can't help being furious when I hear about parents who have been around for literally years without ever lending a hand to any of the work that needed to be done suddenly showing up to help him out because he got rid of the people who knew what they were doing.  I'm angry that parents who I thought I had this great working relationship with, who told us how much they appreciated us and our work, are now working for him.  Yes.  I know that there's the argument that they're just doing what's best for their kids, and I can't fault anyone for that, but it would have been nice to have any of them stand up for us after all the work we've done for their children.  We've put in countless unpaid hours to make sure that department ran smoothly.  We protected their students from situations that they shouldn't have had to suffer.  We oversaw details that he ignored.  We smoothed over conflicts.  We made it easier for kids to be there.  We kept some of these exact same parents from clawing the walls and spending their time in a fury over things that happened to their kids.  But when the chips were down, and when it really came down to it, none of them stood up for us.  Not one.  No one said "You don't get to slander these good people".  When I think about it, I want to cry.

And that leaves me here, wondering if it's just that they believe everything that's been said.  That after all of our selfless actions, and our devotion to their children, they still believe that we are liars, thieves, underhanded individuals, or people who are only out for our own interests.  After I thought that some of these people were friends, and after I've reached out and offered support to some of them when they needed it personally, they still think that in the big scheme of things, we're actually what we have been painted to be by people who have no right to say a word about us.  That instead of truly considering the people we have proven ourselves to be over the years, they just blindly followed the person who had the power.  No one defended us.  No one stood up and said they wanted us back to work with their kids.  They just let us fall into disgrace and suffer.  And what's worse, they flocked to him as if he had done nothing wrong.

I guess I'm just left here wondering why I ever bothered.  Was everything that was previously said about us being great people, and about their kids being better off for having known us all just a bunch of crap?  Was that 6 years of my life wasted?  Did I pass up job opportunities, and the chance to have a family of my own so that I could do what I thought was making a huge difference to a good deal of people, for nothing?  Did I do things out of love that were truly just a waste of my time?  It's hard to reconcile.  It's hard to look at the situation and see what has happened and feel like anything I did mattered.  It's hard to look those parents in the face and not feel angry at them for not being braver.  For not doing the right thing, or standing up for people they claimed to appreciate.  It's hard to feel like everything they said before wasn't just a load of lies. 

It's hard to hear the students melt down to us over text message, or the phone, or in our living room and talk about how much they hate that man, and how they hate being in his department, and then hear that they are giving heartfelt senior speeches about how much he means to them.  I can't help but think that everyone out there has two faces, and I can't really trust either of them.  They're children, he's the adult and I get that they're intimidated by him, or that they are nostalgic because they're leaving.  I get it.  But on some level, I wish they'd tell him that they hate him as much as they tell me that they hate him.  Or maybe they're just lying to me.  I don't know anymore.  And I hate not knowing.

In the end, it's hard not to feel utterly betrayed.  It's hard not to feel like there's no one you can trust.  It's hard not to feel that your sacrifice went unnoticed and unappreciated.  The funny thing is, we never asked for praise or recognition, because we were never in it to get some sort of personal glory.  We never publicized or pushed our good deeds.  We never asked for anything in return for the work we did.  I just assumed that in the long run, we'd know we had done something good and the people we helped would know too.  I was blind to assume anyone would show us any loyalty when we were slandered.  I can't say it doesn't hurt.  It's like a razor sharp pain every day, and there is literally nothing I can do to change it.  And no one cares.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

New Holiday Traditions

Now that we're past Halloween and building into the full swing of the impending Holiday season, I find that my mood is changing.  I'm one of those sappy people who has always loved the holidays.  I love everything about them.  I love the baking, the family dinners, the decorations, the shopping, the gift wrapping, the holiday movies, the anticipation of Christmas morning, the holiday songs, the general sense of goodwill that people have for those few short weeks in November and December.  I'm a sap and I love all of it.  Part of this stems from when I was little and the holidays were the only time that I got to see certain family members because everyone was always so busy.  It was when I got to see aunts and uncles I hadn't seen in a long time, or got to play with some of my cousins that I didn't see often.  It was the time of year where I could follow my older cousins around like a lost puppy, desperately hoping for their approval because they were so much older and cooler than I was.  In a family that was sometimes distant, or fractured, the holidays were the time that we would all get together and pretend the problems didn't exist.

In recent years, holidays have become more difficult.  We split each holiday between my family and Jason's, and coordinating everyone is difficult.  Plus there's an issue with everyone being at different houses and arguing over who should host, or who should cook, and in the long run it becomes more stressful than it needs to be.  If we throw in any friends from out of town, it's a full blown nightmare.  In the end, it makes me kind of sad.  I'm not sure why everyone has to have their own agenda during the holidays, and why it's about what one person wants as opposed to what the group as a whole wants, and the past few years have left me frustrated by the time we hit Black Friday.  This year, however, feels different.  This year in addition to our traditional families, we get to celebrate with our own quirky little family of hodge podge members.  It's no secret that we don't currently have children, aside from our psudo-child teenager who we care about as if she were our own, so I've never experienced that small unit family togetherness that parents feel.  We are in no way replacement parents for her, but through her we do get to have that experience for the first time this year.  One more person to go along when we pick out the tree, one more person to help decorate, one more person to enjoy presents with on Christmas morning.  Plus, we've inherited her boyfriend, who has become a part of our strange family unit, and a graduate from the theatre program who we have kind of adopted as "cool niece".  All of these new and wonderful people in our lives seem to make the squabbling matter less.  Regardless of who does or doesn't want to host dinner, or whose house we end up at, we will come home to our cozy house with our weird little family, drink hot chocolate, and have a lovely holiday.  The rest of the world's problems don't matter when you can close the door and love where you are.  We'll be in our kitchen, creating new traditions.  This Christmas will be filled with cookies, cocoa, pine scent, twinkling lights and love.  I'm not sure what more I could want.