Sunday, April 09, 2006

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

When I see the world through the eyes of my child, it is an infinitely more beautiful, simpler place. The look of pure joy on his face as he runs out to our porch to see the plane he hears flying overhead, the excitement of watching trains go by, the pleasure of seeing so many cars on the road. His world consists of his family, his friends and his favorite television characters, and it is a happy little world indeed. A world where he is the center, a world filled with love, laughter, tractors and trucks, and a perfect day includes all of these things.

The innocence of my toddler is precious, and I sometimes long for a similar innocence. I am tired of the wars, the politics, the hate. I am world-weary, saddened by the news of more death and dying, whether it be victims of war and terror, the friend of my father's whose life was cut short by cancer, or the woman I grew up with who, at age 38, is in advanced stages of ALS - Lou Gehrig's Disease. I am saddened to hear about a former classmate who will never see 38, a woman whose doctor did not believe that such a young woman could have breast cancer. It is all so senseless and so frustrating. I am angered by stories such as this one, angry at these young Israeli soldiers who use their powers to hurt the innocent, simply because they know they can. I am tired of hate for hate's sake, tired of senseless anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, tired of people hating me for my outer "labels", without bothering to find out who I am on the inside (though admittedly, I'm sure there are people not too keen on the real me either...).

Sometimes I don't like this adult world, a world where priorities are screwed up, where money is power and we forget what is truly important. A world that frequently rewards those least deserving, and often shits on the rest. I had breakfast ruined for me one morning last week by an individual who believes that he, as an engineer, is worth more than one who works as a cleaner for a living, and that there is nothing wrong with the fact that the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer, with no end to this gap in sight. He said that people who are earning less than minimum wage aren't really working, so they essentially deserve what they're getting, as does he, an educated (!) man who claims to work hard for his (I'm guessing high) salary. I was shocked and disgusted by his attitude, and left pretty quickly, having lost my appetite during the opening moments of his rant.

I envy my son his innocence, and I marvel at all he does not yet know about the world outside his door. I imagine a world where the worst things that can happen are not getting another cookie or having a toy taken away, and where both are soon forgotten by Mommy holding him close, stroking his hair while whispering softly into his ear. I feel his excitement over identifying members of the animal kingdom wherever they might appear, whether in books, on television or somewhere outside. It doesn't take much to make him happy, and his laughter brings me great joy. He knows nothing of betrayal or abuse, murder, death or mayhem. He is happily unaware of political wheeling and dealing, nor does he know what a terrorist is. There is no pain that his parents cannot make disappear, and money means nothing.

Granted, there are some good things about the world of grown-ups, but sometimes I yearn for the times when all I needed was a warm embrace or a piece of cake to take my problems away, the times when seeing planes, trains and automobiles were all it took to make me happy.


lisoosh said...

I think you get that again when you are old(er), as long as you manage to get to a point where you are past any regrets.

Your story reminds me about a the grandmother of one of my sons classmates. I mentioned that I don't shop at Walmart because of the shoddy way they treat their employees and the rotton salary they get - usually around poverty level for a full weeks work. When I mentioned the amount she gave me a blank stare and asked if the amount was bad. She just had no idea of the cost of living or what horrible salarys so many people make - less than the cost of that nursery school full time. She just didn't care, as long as she could consume as much as possible.

Emah S said...

sweet post, she. reminded me of last summer when we were in Israel with the in-laws. the highlight of both of my boys' trip was a. taking the train from Jerusalem to Bet Shemesh and back again, just to take the train, and b. taking the bus from the in-laws' apt. to the mall in Mevaseret (a 10 min ride). That sort of sweetness is priceless, and unfortunately does go away with age. We try to keep our boys' palletes simple though, and we hold on to their joy with the simple things, hoping that they will too! Wishing you luck in doing the same. :)

Ziad said...

Beautiful post dear She.

Hearing the laughter of a child has such a calming effect on me, no matter how upset I may be. I'm sure that that effect would be even greater if the child were my own.

Anonymous said...

God is generous

Liza said...

Lisoosh: How frightening to be so out of touch! Is the woman well-off? Does she manage her own affairs? I think my grandmother was that way as well.

Emah S: I'm glad you liked it. It's funny, because I wrote it more out of frustration than anything, and didn't expect that people would perceive it as being sweet or beautiful.

We are flying to the US at the end of next month, and we are wondering how we'll get our son to realize that he's actually on a plane. Not sure he will though, so we may have to wait for that excitement the next time around.

Ziad: You have no idea! Just the sound of his little voice can turn me into a puddle. I wish you much laughter in your life!

Anonymous: Forgive me for not checking your link, given that you don't provide any information about it, and in this day and age, I'm not prone to clicking random links. Why don't you write a bit about your thoughts? :-)

lisoosh said...

My son is 2 and he loves planes, especially take off. You might be surprised by how much he gets. I've flown with my 2 twice, once to Israel with my husband and once to the UK on my own (Ha). My biggest fear was crying ('cause you know everyone is looking at you and cursing you) and seat kicking.

As to the grandmother - I don't think she is THAT well off. However there are a lot of mothers in this nursery who seem to abdicate all financial responsibility as soon as they marry, which is a bit strange to me so maybe she is a bit like that - prefers not to think about it.

By the way, from all your posts and comments I totally like you.

Liza said...

Lisoosh: Very good to hear how much your son loves planes! We've taken ours to the US once and to Eilat once, but that was over a year ago, when he was a lot less mobile, and thus much easier to handle. Husband is out paying for our tickets to the US as I write this, so we'll see how it goes. We'll have a layover in Europe, so we'll have a few hours in between flights to let him run around and get tired out, which will hopefully work to our advantage!

As for the grandmother, I think it's very easy to fall into a routine where one of the partners manages all the finances. I know my grandmother was like that as well, and it continued after my grandfather died, when my mother and her sister took over the financial responsibilities.

And as long as we're sharing feelings, I like you too! I'm always very impressed by the comments you leave here and on the other blogs, even (or maybe especially) on those with which you generally don't agree. Always very well thought out and intelligent. :-)

Emah S said...

Hey She....are you going to be down in my neck of the woods at all? Drop me an email.........sus