In a little bar in New York City back in 2012, our friends Becky and Luis sat with Tina and I over a couple of drinks and we discussed a dream possibility of staying at their friend’s farm house in the Loire Valley of France. They said the farm house was offered up for stay at next-to-nothing rates.
Becky and Luis brought it up.
T & I latched on like leaches.
It was one of those discussions that usually turn into a whole lot of nothing. The home was owned by their friend’s family.
Tina and I didn’t let it go. And we reached out to the couple and asked a few times, “Do you think we could really stay in that farm house?”
Between 2008 and 2012, Tina and I didn’t travel much. But that trip triggered a full-on travel bug infection.
To travel every year in a big trip or two, you (well, me) have to practice a little thing called “Abandon.” I’m not talking reckless abandon. But a level of Abandon that doesn’t obsess over the threat of the cost of it. Or the idea that we’re 4,000 miles away, in a place where most people don’t speak our language, where there’s different currency, different architecture, different smells, different approach to gastronomy and culinary arts, different museums and cars, and styles, and music and and and and and ad infinitum.
Since then, we’ve been to Bali, France, Spain, Italy, Turkey, and Portugal. We’ve traveled inside the United States as well.
These experiences likely wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t married Tina. And after each trip, I’m more and more grateful to her, to us, for deciding to abandon our little comfortable lives more often and see the world.
It’s especially great, because of its psychological benefits, because one of our biggest magnetic forces is that we were both abandoned as kids. Tina’s dad left her family when she was a young girl. Her mom passed when she was a young woman.
My birth mom abandoned me as a child. And the psychological disruption of that experience, while I was supposedly too young to understand, continues to be an ongoing disturbance to my mental health. I struggle with being abandoned by loved ones recurrently. It’s a painful part of my world.
Abandonment issues don’t magically disappear with ignorance. Nor with time. Nor with therapy. Those things tend to assuage the overall magnanimity.
My abandonment has likely contributed to a level of anger that has plagued me as long as I can remember and before. If you described me even as a toddler, I’d imagine one would say that I was shy, affectionate and loaded with a ginormous temper. That temper exploded involuntarily on many occasions. It took me a long time to remotely control it.
Just the other day, we got an email from a not-for-profit company I had donated services to. Two days after the event, the person wrote, “Please forward the images so that I can put together a presentation.”
They didn’t write, “Hey, thanks for volunteering your valuable services. I would love for an update on when we can expect photos.”
They dictated to me the terms of an agreement which we had not determined or discussed. Even my best paying client isn’t that disrespectful.
My hands started to shake. Physiologically, I couldn’t control that I was angry. No breathing exercises illuminated the need to retaliate against this person with reciprocated disrespect.
I ended up gently explaining that we were currently finishing up a rough two weeks of work and their images were part of 9,000 other images we had to work with. Usually we take 2 to 4 days to deliver images. It may take longer because of our schedule and workload. Thanks for your patience.
If Tina saw this person’s email, she would not become angry. If most people saw the email, they’d be like, “That’s a little ignorant of what our workflow is or it’s a little rude,” but they would let it slide.
Me, I wanted to write a scathing email with hurtful words and abandon the relationship all together.
I guess it could be a positive thing or a negative thing.
That’s how this shit is going down with our southern border and this President’s administration’s policy of tearing children from their parents. The idea that he’s blaming his adversaries for his own, wait, does President Trump have abandonment issues?
Whatever the case, this issue is gross. It’s absolutely gross.
When I was growing up, one of the most loving things my mom would say was “If anyone ever tried to take you kids from me, in any way, I would do EVERYTHING and ANYTHING to get you back.” She described it as no level of violence could stop her from getting us back from an perpetrator …
That was a definition of love I grew up with.
And yet to think about these parents their children, who I’ve heard described as poor, as uneducated, as illiterate, and this government is using this opportunity to make an example … to scare tactic … to bargain politically.
Gosh, it sounds like the tactics I grew up with in my high school. The administration was constantly doing blanket punishments to prove points. It was gross and it was frankly a level of abuse that I’m glad I find repugnant (then and now). There is a callous bullshit from certain kinds of minds that I cannot understand.
When I hear about these kids and their parents, and what they must be going through, it makes me surge with anger … anger that I’m helpless to alleviate.
I hope that someone, some group, some ounce of grace, and mercy overcome the people involved and change minds. Because hope for humanity, in humanity, for the future, is all I’ve got.