Hard-Wired

Wanting to help others we think are in need becomes this tricky situation. At some point, things could go sour. The help they once accepted could suddenly be dismissed–harshly and defensively. That’s kinda what happened to my dad this week, and I know a part of him just feels bad and defeated about it. But, when you step into the territory of trying to change hard-wired ideas, sometimes you just can’t shake a foundation. Especially if it’s one that’s been in style for at least two to three generations. Even if you want to do a good thing, you have to remember one thing–the effort is not always appreciated. Take precaution.

That sounds so cheesy and light, but watching my dad’s efforts suddenly be shot down is kinda…sad. It’s a reminder that not everyone needs our help. Or, wants it. Maybe they’ll act like they want it, maybe they’ll listen for a bit, but when that change comes…it hurts. This is especially true in the confines of a relationship.

I know dad wanted to help out Shaniah, her mom, and even on a level her grandma (dad’s gf), but I saw this from a mile away. Even though the little girl’s phone call is what started the entire deal, I saw it falling apart the moment my dad tried to help out. He has been here before with some of his gf’s kids. They’re just on a different path than we are. Maybe it hurts to see them like that, maybe you want better…but…they’re not your kids. And, much as we love Miss Shaniah, she isn’t my niece, and she isn’t his grand-child.

After he and the gf found out Shaniah had been missing loads of school, dad decided that she could spend her nights here, so she’d be able to get enough rest and be up and out the door on time. Her mother is around my age, and is an outgoing woman who is also a dancer. So she’s busy working late hours and well…running the streets. That’s not a problem, but, she usually takes Shaniah with her. Shaniah is in Kindergarten. She is 5 years old, and needs to be in bed by at least 8 or 9 to be well-rested for school. So, essentially, that’s all my dad was trying to do–give her stability because she called one day and asked her grandmother to take her to school.

It got deep, because dad loves Shaniah. It pleased his heart to see her want to go to school. Since she’s so young, he didn’t want her to fall behind. Since we do have that extra room, it wasn’t a problem. Well…it became a problem.

My father is a bit of an alpha male. His bark and bite can be pretty harsh sometimes. However, it wasn’t harsh in this case. It was more like…suggestive for the sake of Shaniah. Since his gf was pretty much going along, this was the agreement–Shaniah had to be home in bed by 9, 10 at the latest. It’s hard to get a sleeping child up early for school. So, obviously one who hasn’t gotten enough sleep won’t be fit for any kind of rousing. Surely enough, this was the case whenever her mom dropped her off late. It made dad cross. His gf is kind of the same way–running the streets, coming in a little late. So of course, he’d be on the phone or semi venting to me about his feelings about bringing Shaniah home late.

It was all out of concern, and not in a place to be pushy or tell someone how to raise their kid. I guess to dad, it just seemed like sometimes all the effort was on his part, and no one else’s. He was ready to get Shaniah all kinds of books and stuff. So, late yesterday, he tells me this thing is coming to a close. We’ve been doing it for a few months now, and he just said that his gf was tired of doing it, because Shaniah was her grand-daughter, not her baby. Her education and her going to school was all on her mother.

I know my dad. He’s in that mentality of “it takes a village”, mainly because the village raised his screwball of a child. Although my situation was very different from Shaniah’s, at the core, I had more than one family member taking me to school when dad wasn’t available. I had a bedroom to rest in because my dad worked the night shift. My grandmother and grandfather were two retired people who could have just as easily said no, but my dad was a newly widowed parent who needed all the help he could get. So, maybe he just felt like Shaniah’s mom needed help, and Shaniah needed stability instead of missing days because her mom didn’t want to get up to take her to school. He assumed her grandmother would want to step in and help.

That’s the thing…

It seems like the help is there to a certain extent. We’ve been down this line before, and I’ve seen dad get driven crazy before he just says “forget it, let me handle my own!” It makes me feel bad for not having any children to let him invest his time in. I mean, I’d really be up the river then, but I know dad would help me out so so much. He’d nag the crap outta me for having a kid and coming up short with the money, but, he’d give that baby the entire world. Maybe he just wanted to play grandpa or “Caring Ronnie” for just a hot minute to a little girl whom he considers a bright, shining star. He likes to nurture potential.

I just sat there listening to his problems, not knowing what to say. “Told you so” didn’t seem like the best angle to work with. He tried, it worked out for a little bit, and it failed. So, I don’t know what he’s going to do the next time this girl calls and asks to be taken to school.

Anyway, although it isn’t a way of life that works in Shaniah’s favor, it’s something her family will not break free from. So, who are we to try and change it, just because it’s wrong to us? I know dad wants to come in and break the bad pattern, but his luck just wasn’t with him. He tried his best, and that’s all you can do. I know he hates to watch from the sidelines, hear stories, and eventually be in “I told you so” mode, but these folks are hard-wired as to what they wanna do, when they wanna do it. There are just some things you cannot change….

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