I post on Facebook occasionally. More if something exciting is happening; less if I'm busy and it's life as usual. It's a place where I make small notes about life or how I'm feeling at the moment. Not somewhere for me to push an agenda. Or make large political statements. Or philosophize beyond whether you can ever have too many cute shoes.
So I found myself in an odd situation - one that spawned an actual debate in our house about how (or whether) I should respond. I posted a flippant comment on Facebook about surviving a day without my au pair's help - she has gone on vacation and we've had to rearrange our work schedules to be able to work and still get the kids to and from school, etc. It was one of life's little musings, filled with truth - I will be happy when she returns to help, as it's tricky to balance two careers around two school age boys.
My cousin's hubby chose to comment - he rarely comments on anything or anyone. Without speculating about why he wrote or what his intent was, I'll give it to you verbatim:
"Mrs Chako, love you and the Dr., but be very grateful on what you have. Instead of being 1 day without an au pair, there are many people losing thier houses and jobs...please be sensitive to that."
Again, given that I use Facebook solely as a casual way to keep in touch with an extended network, rather than broader political and social commentary, I was surprised at this. I was more surprised because he knows my background, and I am surprised that he would think, for a moment, that I am not grateful for what I have.
For those of you who haven't heard my story, I'm your classic rags to riches (well, rags to solidly-suburban-middle-class-two-income-not-living-paycheck-to-paycheck-but-still-can't-retire-to-Hawaii-yet) story. Born below the poverty line, worked on the farm, ate government cheese (yes, actual cheese distributed by the government), got free lunch in school, wore hand-me-down clothes, and babysat for $1 per hour to save money for school events. I put myself through college on a combination of scholarships and working, including a dual shift as the night clerk at a local motel, followed by morning at the McDonald's drive-in. Crappy uniform and all - would you like fries with that?
I earned my degrees - both of them. I took the CPA exam and passed it the first time (because I couldn't afford to pay a second sitting fee). I got a good job because I was a good student and CPA qualified and did a damn fine interview. Sue me. I found a great guy to marry who happened to have a good career opportunity, helped support him through finishing medical school and dragged my ass all over the country supporting his military career while trying to keep my own. I tended the home fires while he went to Iraq. And as if to keep me humble, just a short year and a half ago, my employer of 14 years handed me a 3 month notice and wished me luck finding a job in the worst economy in decades. Don't cry; I found a better job, and other than completely having to uproot my whole family, I would have to say we've landed ok.
While I think I have earned every thing I have, there is NEVER a day where I am not grateful for everything. Don't let my petty Facebook posting ever give you a different impression. But if we've turned Facebook into something other than a place where we can occasionally lament that our home team lost (or kicked your home team's butt), that our favorite nail color is no longer in the store, that the font on the new Facebook sucks, or that our au pair has a day off, just let me know and I'll sign up along with the rest of the world and only post deep, meaningful missives or thoughtful social and political commentary.
It spawned a debate in our house. Dr. Chako, totally offended, suggested I delete the comment, so as to avoid other friends and family members commenting and starting a Facebook fight (yes, sis, that means you). I suggested we ignore it - why give credence to someone who has missed the general intent of the post in the first place?
My only consolation that was less than 30 minutes after the comment was posted, the one person who the good Dr. was most worried about starting a Facebook fight, sent me a message, explaining her attempt to avoid getting in a Facebook fight. I give you the relevant bits, excerpted as I see fit:
"The eat-all-your-brussels-sprouts-because-there-are-children-starving-in-Africa bit is logic-less and tired. Just as anyone would, you have grown to love, enjoy and respect what you earned. . . . Ya know what? Fuck that person. . . . I have spoken. . . . I love you."
Yeah. What she said.
For those of you hoping to find deep social and political commentary here, move along. I love social debate as much the next intellectual nerd, but I'm a lover, not a fighter - I've seen what happens when I post my personal thoughts about my au pair having the day off. Heaven knows what kind of social unrest I could spawn if I actually took a stand on something meaningful.
PS The spelling mistake in his post was left there. Intentionally. Call me petty. Maybe right after you call me insensitive.