Thursday, August 02, 2007

What Do We Deserve?

I would like to think that a lot of us wish well for our fellow human beings. That our general instinct would incline us to feel happiness when someone succeeds at something that they worked hard for and stayed honest about. That we would genuinely wish our fellow man good luck as they set off on a new venture that they’ve dreamed of for a lifetime. That we would be proud of a child who just got a dream job at the ripe, old age of 20.

The last scenario describes a situation involving my stepson. Let me state for the record: he is a gem. He has never given me or my husband an ounce of trouble. He’s responsible, respectful, and he has big dreams for his future. Any parent would be proud.

And proud we are. We do wish him the best and we do wish him success. However, something that he did—and moreover, something that he said—made me feel…how can I say it? Inadequate. Incompetent. Deficient, ineffective, imperfect—any one of these lacking words would fit. Sprinkle a small amount of resentment in for good measure. What was it that caused my soul to deflate just a little? He went out and bought himself a brand-new car. A nice car. And I’m proud…I really am. But he didn’t even start his new job yet…he hasn’t even started his training. I asked him if he was sure that he could handle the payments. He assured me that he worked it all out, and he should have absolutely no problem. And then he came up with a philosophy that is generally age-appropriate for him, but worrisome all the less: He said that he deserved it.

Now, in my lifetime, I have seen some pathetic, nasty people make gains and strides over others more “deserving” in areas of business, home and car purchases. On the other side of the coin, I have seen honest, hard-working individuals—most of whom would be considered to be people who “deserved” the best—end up with family issues, health concerns, and failed businesses. When my son said that he “deserved” to have that car, I immediately thought of myself and his father: two hard-working, sacrificing individuals ourselves who have tried and succeeded to blend a family and create a loving household. Yet we are driving second-hand cars. As a matter of fact, we are living in a house that’s many square feet too small. We struggle financially to stay afloat and to keep a roof over our kids’ heads. Don’t we “deserve” something nice? Is my son being arrogant, or is he merely just trying to justify why he made such a large purchase before he even knew if he was going to like his new job? Or is this the sad state of today’s youth: they honestly believe that they only “deserve” the best of everything, just for merely existing?

Quite honestly, he was working very hard at a company that his family members owned prior to attaining this new job. He learned the business, put his whole heart into it, and made the company a lot of money. However, all of his efforts weren’t really compensated. As a matter of fact, there were times he may have felt taken advantage of just because he was part of the family. So in the grand scheme of things—or at least in his own mind—he felt that he had really devoted himself to his work in the last two years, and if his higher-ups weren’t going to acknowledge him, he at least could acknowledge himself. He made the break from the family and set it in stone by buying the car—now he has to make this new job work. And he will, because that's the kind of kid he is.

Today I went to discuss surgery for an ovarian cyst with my doctor, a wonderful soul who I know for many, many years. As I sat down in his office and we began our discussion, the seriousness of my condition was becoming apparent. What I merely thought was a menstrual cyst gone wild seemed to be a major cause of concern for my doctor. He stated that he wanted an oncologist in the operating room with him and that after they removed my ovary (my ovary?), they would immediately biopsy it to see if there was any cancer (wait…you mean ovarian cancer?). If it was benign, everything was all good and they’d close me up. If not, they would have to remove both ovaries, fallopian tubes, my uterus, my cervix, peritoneal tissue, lymph nodes, and something called an omentum that I didn’t even know existed. And that would be that.

…Is this what I “deserve”? Where is my new car? Heck, where is my 5,000 square foot house in the mountains, full of servants to wait on me hand and foot??

Amazingly, I don’t feel resentful. I feel challenged. And I do know I “deserve” better…but maybe the art of going through a rough time with grace and strength and coming out on top makes all the physical, “deserved” things more appreciated.

…Or maybe we come to realize that they just don’t really matter at all.

20 comments:

Little Wing said...

Lisa, you deserve whatever it is that you set your heart to wanting. And I believe that you are gonna come out of all this on the good side. Much Love to you!

Lisa said...

little wing,

I do believe you're right. We all want what's most important to us, and for me it's the love of my husband and family. Honestly, without that, there wouldn't be much else for me.

A loyal and loving partner was always something I needed in my life, and I was lucky enough to find him. I just hope that my kids will learn that they can have all the cars and houses and money in the world, but it would mean nothing without someone they could trust in their lives to be with them through thick and thin. Not even a Rolls Royce could put its arms around you and tell you everything will be alright!

Take good care,
Lisa

Kacey said...

Dear Lisa, I am at a loss for a place to start. Sorry, but I think your son is being a typical callow youth of the new century. They need to be disabused of their feelings of entitlement. If he worked for the family for a couple of years without proper compensation --- so what! He sat with his feet under your table and your only compensation was loving him. Tell him he deserves crap---you have to earn it. Ask him what you deserve in his big boy opinion---just wait until life grabs him by the nape of the neck!

On to the "cyst"--- OMG -- I hope it is not ovarian cancer, but it is hard to think that a doctor is just preparing you for any eventuality. We'll be praying for you and for a simple ovarian something. Your omentum is a big fatty looking thing that hangs down in your abdomen between your innards and your retro-peritoneal cavities. Lovely looking thing, yuck!
Finally the "widget". It poped up on my last posts and if you click on it--- it tells you that you can repair your blog from there without going through any big deal. There is also a pencil at the bottom of the post near your comment bar ---it is for fixing things quickly. These things disappear when you post your next post and wind up there for the new post. We can't see them---only the author--- they are convience tools.

Summer said...

Dear Lisa,
YOU deserve all the goodness and the best in this world!!!
you deserve great health and this is what you deserve right now...All my prayers for you to have all clear surgery so you will go back to your loving family and home safe and sound!!!
Kids....they will learn from their own mistakes!! i am sure your son will be well.
Please keep us updated. Best of luck dear!
As for the tool thing next to your posts it is becuase you are LOGGED in to your blog!!! :) nothing you can do to make it disappear unless you log out an visit your blog.

Lisa said...

Dear Kacey and Summer,

The first thing I need to mention is that my husband does not fit the mold of his family--at all--and they know it, so he's sometimes not included in all of their little "endeavors", outings, etc. (think "decoy ducks and duckesses"). My son was not enamoured with being a painter--like his dad--and since his uncle and aunt were very glam, he kind of fell into that group.

But the good news is, he worked there for two years and got to see firsthand what being a "decoy" was. He needed to make the break, but they resented him for it with comments like, "Okay, fine, but make sure you do the family proud." Ironic, because this business is not doing well, and my son was smart enough to know it was because his family bought things for themselves before paying their debts. He was also smart enough to know that he wanted no part of it. Do I think he needed the car right now? No, I think he should've waited until he was a little more secure in his job. Do I think it's important to him right now? Well, he has testosterone, and he'll be 21 next month. He'll be fine...I worry about him the least out of all my kids.

As for the other issue, I am petrified. I'm awaiting the results of a CA-125, and I'm scared out of my wits. I'm also awaiting my mom's records. She died 22 years ago of what we all thought was ovarian cancer until two years ago, when I came across her death certificate, and it said cervical (two totally different animals in my book). I was relieved for the last two years until this happened. My doctor also told me that unfortunately, the death certs aren't always correct, and her pap could've been abnormal because the ovarian cancer had spread to her cervix. So I am basically going to be a basket case until next week. Please keep up the prayers--I have good faith that everything will be alright, but I didn't tell certain family members yet because I don't want them to give me a death sentence! I'm hoping for the best, and I'll keep you informed.

Take good care,
Lisa

Desiree said...

Lisa,

Be proud that he can say that about himself! Because you helped him come to this conclusion about himself! What's more just because he is proud of himself and feels he deserves it doesn't mean that he would feel any less that you deserve it too.
I agree though about going through the rough times. When something comes too easy it seems to lose its value to us. However when we work for something its value is ten-fold. Funny how that works isn't it!

Carine said...

Dear Lisa,
I am sending you big mom/friend hugs and best of thoughts. Hopefully, your son's youth rises up and he realizes what he's doing. sometimes, that rite of entitlement takes over. I've always thought that working for something makes it all the more dear.

Big Dave T said...

Hi Lisa. I like your new profile pic. I'd change mine, but if I ever updated it to the present, I'd surely scare everyone off.

Hope the medical issues work out okay. If my doctor ever worried about something with me, I'd be a wreck.

I kinda agree with Kacey about your step-son. It's a generational thing. I'm amazed at how quickly and how easily my adult children are lured into debt. My own son bought himself a sports car last year BEFORE even having a permanent job.

Meanwhile, we're driving around a ten-year-old mini-van with over 180,000 miles on it, with no horn, a cracked windshield, the AC is broke as is the cruise control. But you know what? It's paid for. His car won't be for another three years. I love to remind him that.

Lisa said...

Desiree,

He really is a good kid with a good head on his shoulders. I just think that sometimes he, as well as my other kids, gets swept up in all of the media glam and glitz, and how everyone's status in life is solely based on their belongings. I just want to raise my kids to appreciate what really matters in life. But sometimes they have to learn that one on their own, unfortunately. :(

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Carine,

Thank you so much for the cyber hugs! I'm a little stressed this week, but I'm hoping for the best and I'm sure it'll all work out.

As for my son, I know he is appreciative of us. He wrote my husband the most beautiful Father's Day card, thanking him for giving him a family and how they're all growing closer as they get older. So I do know he realizes some of the things that are important, and it's nice that he can look at being in a blended family that positively.

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Big Dave,

I'm sure your picture would be a welcomed sight for everyone, you shouldn't worry!

As for my medical issues, I am definitely a wreck...but I'm hoping for the best. It's all the "not knowing" that gets to me.

Wow, you probably could use a newer car...but I hear you...my Jeep is a 2002 with almost 95k miles on it, and it's not even paid off yet (next March). By the time it's all mine, it'll have 150k miles on it, and who knows what else!! But it's been very good to us, and it gets amazing gas mileage...I tell you no lie. Better than the three other Hondas we have here (my huband's, my daughter's and now my stepson's)!

Take good care,
Lisa

Mark said...

There are lessons in everything, even in what your son said. There are lessons in the surgery and all that brings with it.
I send you blessings of health, love, peace and hugs. May all work out well.

Matty said...

Lisa,
If there is one lesson in life...its don't count on anything. My prayers will be with you this week....and I hope you have good news.
Hope for the best...and leave it in God's hands. Have faith Lisa!
I'm going through the nerve-wracking waiting & hoping weekend from hell..but I have faith that everything will turn out for the best.
I'm with Kacey and Dave on the 'kids deserve the very best without putting in the years or hardship..live for today...on credit.
No longer do our kids want to save up for a home or a television set or car...they believe they deserve the finer things in life right now, this minute...why wait?
At 20 or 25 I don't know why they think they 'deserve' stuff. What exactly have they done to deserve it? Show up every day and look good?
I'm sure your son is one hell of a kid...but waiting & saving makes them appreciate the perks.
My oldest brother always told me....maturity is the ability to say No to yourself....and hell, I'm very mature!
Be kind to yourself.
Love, Matty

Lisa said...

Dear Mark,

Thank you so much for the good wishes. I'm feeling positive that it'll all be fine, but blessings always help!! If I have to look with a microscope, I will find the lesson in this!!

Hope all is well with you.

Take good care,
Lisa

Lisa said...

Dear Matty,

I had a tough week with a lot of defeated moments, but I decided there's nothing written in stone yet, and I can't worry until there is. And I truly believe that it is not my lot in life to have cancer, no matter what my mom died of. We are alike in many ways, but physiologically, we are very, very different. I have more of my dad's constitution! And he hung around forever!! I have placed it in God's hands, and I'm certain that no matter what, He's not going to let me down!

As for my son, I do agree with you. I think his dad is proud of him because his son is doing things that maybe he wished he had done--my husband was his son's age when he had him, and was newly married to someone who he wasn't sure he should be with forever. He had to keep up with his painting career to support his family. So in his mind, he sees his son as on his way to being very, very successful, and he's proud. And I have to say, the kid has never asked us for money for anything--he pays his own car insurance (not cheap), his own bills, etc. He really is responsible. He's a good example to the rest of the kids in that respect.

But this "deserving" thing at that young age--well, I admit. That will always get to me. He hasn't experienced enough of life yet.

Hope all works out well with your grandson. My prayers are with you.

Take good care,
Lisa

simply me said...

Hi LI - I wrote these word somewhere else in your blog...
You are deserving of all that is good for you are just that. I don't believe for a second that the universe, your angels, nor God forgets that. I am here....always!

I love you

Loving Annie said...

Lisa,
It sounds (and I do not know all aspects of it) that your son believes that he is earning the right to provide for himself.
In being self-reliant, he is seeing himself where he would like to be, and saying he is worth it. He's not asking for a hand-out, he is saying that believes in himself and his suceess and his work actions are proving it step by step.

It may have pushed some buttons within you because of the specific word 'deserved'.

Just the hint that someone has an attitude of 'entitlement' can cause feelings of resentment in those who work hard and still have budgetary constraints.

So I think it was more about that simply as a word perception than anything else. He really sounds like a good kid -- and in large part, I believe that he IS a good kid because you both have instilled good values in him, both a s a young person and as an employee.

The cance scare must be terrifying for you. Oh honey, you do NOT deserve either the terror or the worry or any other expense and difficulty that go with it.

When will surgery be ? I hope hope hope hope for you that it is benign.

And I wish a winning lottery ticket for you as consolation for having to go through this at all...

My enormous empathy, and if there is ANYTHING I can do, be it by e-mail or phone, to listen, to provide a shoulder, to offer simply the comfort of a supprotive ear, I am very much willing to to do that.

*love and light* to you, Lisa,

Loving Annie

Lisa said...

Maria,

I love you, too. I know I deserve good things and that I've gotten them--I have you, don't I?!? And my Al. And my kids, bratty as though they may be. I'll be fine--I know it. But then again, you knew it too, didn't you?

Hope your BBQ went well!! The weather was beautiful here today--hope it was by you, too!!

xoxoxoxo

Lisa said...

Loving Annie,

You are wise and very sweet. Watch out, I just might take you up on your offer! I will warn you, if I've had a glass of wine, I tend to become long-winded!!

I think I'll find out the results of the CA 125 tomorrow (Monday). That will determine if the surgery is going to be this week or in a few weeks (I have to have it either way). I'll keep you informed!

Thanks again for your kindness and support.

Take good care,
Lisa

Matty said...

Lisa,
Go to http://tnchick.com/...she started the Photo Hunter Group.
Every Saturday we post about whatever subject she mentions for that week.

On her blog on the left you will see the subjects by date......for instance 2 weeks ago it was 'Creative' last week it was 'Funky' next week the subject is 'Row' now that could be a row of knitting or a row of flowers, etc.

The only rule is that it has to be a picture you took..not a pic from the web..and you have to post at least twice a month in order to be a member.
I was amazed at all the bloggers that came to visit me once I became a member.
It's a lot of fun...so check it out.
You have to go to her site and leave a comment in order to join. and then put the 'Photo Hunter' logo on your side-bar. That's it.
Have a great week.