Sunday, April 15, 2007

A Longer Absence

Every once in a awhile, a hiatus from writing is imposed upon me. In this particular case, it's a combination of being way too busy, some healing time, more personal crises, and no motivation whatsoever to write anything. I had some major life crises to deal with. I can't promise that I'm going to be back as faithfully as I was when I first came online, but we'll just see what develops. Especially in light of the new family crisis. More on that in a bit.

As to the content: this blog has always been my personal catharsis. I write for my own sanity. And I think a total of three people actually read this thing, and I think they will forgive me for the layoff, and the content.

The bulk of the layoff has been spending time with our infant son. It's amazing how much you can love something that screams, cries, soils itself, and requires constant attention. I can safely say that I never really imagined I'd enjoy being a father. Now that I'm in it, I am sorry that I waited this long to have a child. Nothing in the world can actually sum this experience up, so I won't even attempt to quantify it. It's sufficient for me to say that I want to spend every waking moment I can with my son, and that's to the detriment of exercise, reading, writing, and pretty much anything else I do on a regular basis.

The new job has occupied quite a bit of time. It's weird, but I think I've finally found something that I like to do which involves the practice of law. I'm a prosecutor now, and I think this is what I was supposed to be doing all along. I have the power to see justice done, and that's a rewarding thing unto itself. That's the subject of an entire week's worth of posting, in and of itself. Suffice to say, I actually have a job that I like going to every morning. I cannot overemphasize this has never happened up until now. I HATED being a lawyer, and I can say that most of the rest of the profession is evil incarnate, after exposure to it.

I think I became sidetracked right out of law school. All I wanted to do was criminal law. That's what I focused on. Somehow or another, I started working out of law school in the civil field. Once you get trapped in a particular field, it's fairly tough to get out of it. You gain experience in one area, and people want to hire you in that area. Thus, I trapped myself. I've written before about selling out to money as opposed to doing something you love, and this has done nothing but re-enforce that particular lesson. I've had a great track record so far in this job, and I daresay I'm actually good at it. I wasn't in the other fields that I've worked in. I think it was simply because I hated what I was doing. No more.

At any rate, a new personal crisis has reared its head. It's something most Americans deal with in their families at some point or another, but now it's here in my family. I speak of course, of the Big C. Cancer. My mother has it. It's inoperable. It's pretty bad.

Those that know my mother are thinking this is not a shock. She has been, and remains, at least a 3 pack per day smoker. That's pretty heavy, especially considering she's nearing 70. It's apparently been a shock to her, which I can well imagine. It's much like looking at your birth certificate, and finding an expiration date. We all know that we're going to die. It's just not something I think one can grasp until something like this comes up.

Along those same lines: we all intellectually know that smoking causes cancer. There's too much evidence to the contrary. Hell, even the tobacco companies will tell you that it does. Again, it's one of those things where you don't think it will actually happen to you, until it happens to you. Even now, my mother and father refuse to accept that smoking did this to them. "Lots of people die from lung cancer that have never smoked," they say. Very true. However, the particular type she has is ONLY caused by smoking. Nothing else. (Well, actually you could drink about 70 gallons of a certain kind of pesticide and theoretically cause it in mice, but I kinda doubt that was the deciding factor in this case.) And all those other people they mention? It might shock them to learn their cancers were probably caused by second-hand smoke.

I don't mean to turn this into a diatribe against smoking. If you want to, more power to you. I am now having pretty serious problems about those who inflict it on others, and scream their rights are being violated when they can't smoke in a restaurant anymore. Poison yourself at home. You don't have the right to kill everyone else around you, though. I am now faced with the possibility that I might develop this disease, and I've never smoked. My parents inflicted it on me, making me ride with the windows closed as they both puffed away, smoking in the house, etc. They so far have refused to accept they have done anything detrimental to my health.

Your outlook on certain things changes a bit when you have a child. At least, mine did. The question: now that we have concrete evidence of what smoking does, should we expose my son to it, just to save hurt feelings?

We have now created a problem in the family. My mother and father refuse to quit smoking. Period. The doctors have told her this will mean any treatment will be ineffective. Guess what that means?

I am downright evil if I expose my infant, innocent son to the smoke. It's real now. We KNOW what the smoking will do, because we now see concrete proof. So I'm not going to expose my child to it any more. I'm not trying to prevent my parents from seeing their grandchild. I love them. I will do whatever is necessary to help in this crisis. I'm unabashedly furious that my parents would do anything to cut short their time on earth with their children and grandchildren. But that doesn't mean I will stay away. I can't stay away. That would be even more wrong. I'm simply going to stay with other relatives while I'm home, and minimize my son's exposure to that which might kill him. I can't imagine a parent doing anything else.

Well, when we moved down the road to the relatives' house for the duration of the visit this weekend, my mother pitched a fit. So did my father, despite my efforts to not make a big deal about it. They see this decision as a slap in their face. It was never intended to be that at all. I feel I cannot dictate what they do in their own home. I can't ask them to stop smoking anymore. That's caused more fights than anything in our history.

The last thing I wanted to do was cause my mother any additional pain during this period, but what else was I to do? What else CAN I do? Am I evil for not staying with my parents when we visit? Is it not more evil to expose an innocent baby; who cannot make decisions or take care of himself, to a smoky house?

I don't know. I know I've made the decision. I've caused trouble that I never meant to cause. I've upset a very ill person and caused more stress, which is the last thing she needed. And I'm made to feel guilty about the decision. So am I right or wrong?

Anyway, that's the reason for the layoff. Sorry for those 3 of you who actually read this stupid thing.

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