I have so much I want to write about lately. So many interesting things happening in my little life and so many interesting things happening in the world.
There is one thing, however, I can’t seem to get off my mind. I’m not writing this to create controversy (I don’t like controversy!), I am really, genuinely curious about this.
As you might know, I became very concerned and depressed regarding the case of Mary Winkler. If you aren’t familiar with this case, Mary Winkler was the wife of Matthew Winkler and the mother of two little girls. She was recently convicted for murdering her husband (who was a pastor) last March. The crux of the case was an attempt to determine if she was a battered wife. I believe she was. Other people do not. I’m cool with that. I don’t know her and I didn’t know him.
A letter to my local paper over the weekend expressed shock and dismay that the parents of Matthew Winkler were fighting for custody of the two small girls. I’m totally paraphrasing here because I absolutely cannot remember the exact words the writer used, but basically she said, “They did a pretty craptacular job with their son. Who on EARTH thinks they could do a better job with these two poor little girls?”
So. What about that?
I know a lot of people that have grandchildren who they have custody of. I don’t mean the grandkids stay over at their house a lot. I mean the grandchildren live in their home with them and do not see the parents on a regular basis. The vast, vast majority of these people who are raising their grandchildren (at least the ones I, personally know) are really good, decent, hardworking folks. I honestly believe they did the best they could with their children.
So whose fault is it?
I mean, I guess what I’m asking is: At what point do we stop blaming the parents and start taking responsibility for our own actions? Even if our own actions mean we are a tremendous jerk who ends up in a pool of blood on the floor because our wife can’t take our extreme BS anymore?
I don’t know.
My ex-husband had this friend who I hated. His parents had divorced when he was really young and he used that as his catch-all excuse for his extremely poor behavior. He had a full scholarship to college. He got to live in the dorms for free and everything (says the girl who had to work her considerable arse off to get through school and found it very difficult to do so)! All he had to do was show up on a daily basis and maintain a “C” average.
Well, he didn’t. Within months of starting college he was getting drunk every single night and dropped out. He smoked so much weed that it was practically growing out of his skin. He ended up working at a series of fast-food jobs and living in his mom’s basement playing video games until he had to go to work again. Once, he almost shot me because he was so freaking paranoid that even though he knew I was coming over to his house, it scared him when I showed up.
Everything, in his opinion, was because his parents were divorced. If you ever confronted him on why he behaved in the manner in which he behaved he would start his sob story about how his mom and dad were divorced and it really messed him up. Never mind that, what, about fifty percent of marriages in this country end in divorce? That thirty percent of the kids in my graduating class had a different last name than their parents (and that was fourteen years ago)? That plenty of people, darn near everyone I would assume, had some kind of crap that went on in their childhood? And they made a choice at some point to move past it and become a productive human being?
He’s dead now. He robbed one of his teenage Burger King co-workers and then caught a ride in the back of a pick-up truck with an unsuspecting man and woman. When he saw a police car coming down the road (a police car, incidentally, that was NOT looking for him) he took his shotgun (which he was apparently carrying) and blew his own brains out.
I wonder if that was his dad’s fault too.
I guess the primary thing I’m wondering is, who really is to blame? For kids who drop off the grandchildren and say, “I don’t want to bother with this.” For adults who have children that they are ill-equipped to raise. For people who let drugs and alcohol take over their lives and lose everything in the process. For men and women who grow up mean and violent and hurt their families. Is it their brain chemistry? Are they just evil? Were they molested as a child? Did they not get the love they needed?
Is there a good answer here?