Tag Archives: courtesy

Visiting Her

Standard

Saturday marked the 10th visit that I have escorted Ethan on to visit his mom.  It also marked the most uncomfortable one.

Ethan and I didn’t have to wait long for her to come out.  Eliza was on time because she was called to the visit from her culinary arts class.  This time I didn’t get out of my seat to hug her.  She didn’t make her way over to my chair to hug me either.

She appeared a little surprised to see us because we did not visit on the day they we normally do.  Eliza gave me a half-hearted smile as she signed in at the desk.  I don’t think she was prepared for a visit.  Usually that’s why it takes so long for her to come out because she spends about an hour and a half getting ready.  Her hair was pulled in a simple ponytail (no bells and whistles) and her face was free of vivid eyeshadow and mascara. 

Eliza seemed embarrassed to be “caught” not looking her best.  She kept her head down most of the visit and made little eye contact with me.  She even gave an explanation for her appearance saying that her hair was frizzy from working in the garden on the previous day. 

We played card games and ate snacks.  Mother and son did most of the talking as I said very little.  I gave her an update on Evan and added a few remarks here and there, but that was basically it. 

I think I was sulking a little.  I was polite yet reserved.  Just being in the prison was a reminder of how she failed to notify me about the lockdown.  I recalled reading comments on the prison message board from posters who had received letters from friends and family warning them of the situation.   Once again I was stung by her discourtesy.   

When Eliza mentioned the woman who escaped (providing Ethan with a detailed version including how she knitted herself an entire outfit to escape in), I used the opportunity to let her know that I had planned to bring Ethan down that very weekend.  I explained that it was Tasha who had informed me of the restriction–saving me time and gas.  I told her that I appreciated Tasha’s thoughtfulness.

I hope that she read between the lines.  I did not want to address the matter directly because I did not want to air our issues in front of Ethan.  Nor did I feel like writing her a letter  beforehand to request that she share these minute occurences with me.  I just want her to grow up.

I could write her for future reference (in the event that it never occurred to her to inform me) and request that she keep me abreast of anything that might affect our monthly visits.  However,  I’m not sure that she would comply anyways.

At the end of the visit she hugged Ethan goodbye.  I inched far away from the table because I did not feel like hugging her.  However, Eliza walked around the table so she could hug me.  I was a little surprised because if she would have read my body language she would have known that I wasn’t up for it.  Maybe she felt bad. 

Maybe I am too sensitive.

My fellow blogger friend Stacy wrote a great a post about hug therapy.  It made me realize that I do need to hug her.  She wrote There are actual health benefits to hugging.  According to one article, we need 8 hugs a day for maintenance and 12 hugs a day for growth.  Two other articles expressed that hugging lowers blood pressure and reduces stress.  In the third article, I read, it talked about how being hugged makes us feel accepted and compassion.  These emotions tend to make us feel more relaxed and improve our attitude. 

Maybe one day my warm hugs will melt the polar region of her heart.

A Matter of Courtesy

Standard

The prison in which Eliza is serving her time is on lockdown.  An inmate escaped with the assistance of a guard eight days ago and is still on the run.

 

One would think that since I take the boys down for monthly visits, that out of deference, Eliza would have informed me of this.  I would have been steamed had I driven four hours round trip for her August visit and not been allowed.

 

Jazmine’s mom wrote today warning me of the lockdown.  Eliza also wrote the boys today, too.  She very well could have included a note for me to share this information. 

 

I do not watch the news on a regular basis and missed the airing of the escape.  It was actually Tasha who informed me of this—go figure!  She said she watched the broadcast to make sure that the escapee wasn’t Eliza coming to do me harm!!!

 

I have called only a couple of times before driving down, but honestly, most of the time I don’t think about it or I just forget to do so.

 

Courtesy, it is as simple as that.  But sadly, I think once again, I am expecting more than she is willing to give.

 

Food For Thought

Standard

 

“Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort.”
Norman Kolpas

Food is the most primitive form of comfort.”
Sheilah Graham

Today I drove Ethan down to visit his mom.  Intially I felt ackward because this is the first time that we have been to visit since receiving the letter full of accusations and paranoia that she sent to me.  But I prayed while waiting for her to come out and as time edged on, the ackwardness sidled away.

She is usually late to arrive, but it took her a full hour to come out today.  I was a tad annoyed because this adds time to the entire visiting process.  We got in the visiting area at 9:30am and she came out at 10:35am.  I have no clue as to what takes her so long.  Most inmates come right out. 

She was her usual pleasant self, making sure to include me in their conversations.  She even waved to me through the window as they processed her.  Wary, I only spoke when addressed in order to allow mother and child time together.

However, there was one thing  different about this visit.  I did not bring the usual $10 that I normally do so that we may get things from the vending machine.   I rarely eat though because most of the things in the machines don’t appeal to my taste buds so early in the morning.  It is a two-hour drive to get there so I know that Ethan is probably a little hungry by then.  Out of courtesy I always offer Eliza something as well.

The first time that we visited her last November, she looked totally shocked when I asked her if she wanted a refreshment.  She halfheartedly declined.  Later in the visit I offered her again insisting that she  at least get a drink.  She happily obliged.

Since that first time she hasn’t refused a snack.  I really don’t mind treating her but my husband has a different opinion.  He feels that I already spend enough on gas (usually $60 roundtrip) and taking the kids to lunch afterwards.  He has also stated that she probably doesn’t appreciate it and comes to expect it.  He also feels that this gives her an attitude of superiority because she has me (a former enemy) buying things for her.  He thinks, too, that Ethan should use some of his allowance to buy snacks for them.

I reminded him that she has never asked me to buy her anything because I am the one offering.  Two, for me it would be quite humbling to accept something from a person I once viewed as the enemy.  I am not getting the impression that she is being smug about it.  Finally, I don’t really care if she does feel triumphant that I am spending a small amount of money on her.  If she is indeed “using” me, the shame is on her and not me.  It is not like I am spending a fortune on her.  Besides, food helps break the ice time and again.

Plus, I bear witness to the healing power of food.  Food comforts, strengthens, and uplifts us (just visualize “The Last Supper”).  That’s why there are such terms as “comfort food” and “homestyle cooking.”   It has probably turned some foes into friends–just the act of sharing alone.  Food is MEANT to be shared with people.    Food is also an important part of our lives.  And don’t forget that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.  How bitter/uneasy/depressed can you be for long when you and others are stuffing your faces with goodies?  Food allows the good times to roll.  Not to mention it feels odd not to be snacking when everyone around us is doing so. I feel good that I am able to offer something at all.  Of course, my husband felt that I was being far too philosophical about the matter.

 I can even understand why my husband would have a hard time breaking bread with Eliza.  Sometimes I do get very angry with the kind of person she is.  I even think of ways that I can hurt/best her in the fragile position that she is in.  She seems to have no problem inflicting pain.  Every chance she gets she uses it to slap us in the face and rain on our parade when we least expect or deserve it.   But somehow I know that it is not safe to fight fire with fire.  When she offends me, I can’t try to offend her in return.  I am of sound mind.  And if she suffers from the mental issues that I think she does, then she can’t help herself without treatment.   I have no excuses.  

While I do respect and empathize with my husband’s opinion, I am the one who will make the ultimate choice about how I conduct myself with her.   If I have the money to spare, I will continue  to graciously provide the funds for snacking.  I understand that she will never likely return the favor which is fine by me.  But that’s not why I do it.

The Bible is a feast of words and I must say that Romans 12:19-21 is quite a delicious sampling of the banquet we have coming:  Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.  Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Amen.