Thanksgiving was, as I mentioned, mostly uneventful. One conversation did happen that made me a little sad, though.
I have this uncle who is pretty awesome. He's married to my difficult aunt, married her late when all their respective children were grown. He's been very good for her and a great addition to the family. He was a longtime family friend and I actually used to babysit for him and his ex wife back when I was a young teenager, so I've known this guy most of my life. He helped me out a lot when I was hurt, took me for doctor visits, called to check in on me etc. Generally a great guy and we all love him to bits.
As my daughter was leaving to go to work after thanksgiving dinner, someone said it was sad she had to work and I mentioned she volunteered because she needed money. I said we help her out as much as we can, but I can't really give her much in the way of pocket money and stuff. My uncle said he didn't believe in helping grown kids at all. Said it would make her overly dependent and she'd never learn to live on her own. I said she was student teaching and going to class full time and then some, and that without our help in what little ways we can help, she'd never make it. Has to put gas in the car, feed the bunnies, and so on. He said she'd figure out a way if we refused to help her. I told him I was glad my mother had never felt that way as we'd have been out on the street more than once. (to which my mother nodded assent) He said, "no you wouldn't have. You'd have figured something out. I did." referring to his single parenthood and how he struggled but managed to make it and raise his three or four kids (I always forget how many) on his own.
I thought of the homeless families I see downtown all the time. I thought of the women in shelters, in abusive situations, the trafficked women and children who had no choices and did what they had to so they could survive. I thought of all the women and children and men too who don't make it, who don't find a way. People who have been turned away from their families and ended up dead.
I was pretty stunned and muttered something about how this was probably not a good conversation to have at that particular point in time. He'd been a little combative all day for some reason, I noticed. He has a prickly, sarcastic edge at times and it's sometimes difficult to tell when he's kidding or not so I just let it go.
It was shocking, though. This person who I admire and respect and love and who has been so helpful to me and to my family over the years, it was rather blindsiding.
Have you ever been surprised and shocked by an unexpected viewpoint?