Yesterday Shelby was beside herself because her best friend said that she doesn't really like house cats. This was akin to her friend taking a knife and shoving it in to Shelby's heart. Shelby would have been less sad if her friend had told her that she didn't really like older brothers named Dalton, or Mothers who had brown hair and drove black cars. I was trying to pacify Shelby and was doing a pretty pitiful job.
The thing about Shelby, when she is sad, is that it's like 3-D sad. Her mouth is quite large, and so when she opens it to wail, you can see down to her innards. Her eyes produce a bizarre amount of tears- like Alice In Wonderland when she cries so hard that she sails away on her own sea of tears. So, as a by-standard, it's a little intimidating trying to quell the storm when it's in full force.
I told her that I didn't care if a friend told me that she didn't like my house, or my cooking (which is of course blatantly untrue).
I can't remember how we overcame it, to be honest. But somehow I was able to talk her down off the cliff, and she managed to overcome the sadness. I guess it throws me for a loop because Shelby is usually my solid, steady, practical girl. Dalton is the one that can go to pieces at the mention of their being avocados in the salad, or the temperature not being warm enough for shorts. Is this kid possibly mirroring an overwhelmed Mom of his? So I usually know that if Shelby is going to pieces, it's a big deal.
Then there was me on Wednesday. In school in the Social Work building on campus. Feeling really tired because I'd been up the night before with Garrett, who was sick, worried about my application in to the program that is coming due really soon, and feeling overwhelmed with all the sad stuff that we had just talked about in class. There is something about this class that makes people feel comfortable sharing their personal stories of hardship. I guess it's a good thing for them to get it off their chest. But it's one thing to read about the trials of working class single mothers in a textbook, or watch a movie about violent racism in class. Hearing about it from your new friend you are sitting next to takes the anonymity away and makes the painful issue completely real. It puts a face on the problem. One in five in America in poverty now...how could there not be some of them in my class?
I was needing to have a tiny little cry. I went in to the bathroom, where I sat on the toilet to just let the tears fall on my shoes. I looked over, and there was no TP...I am thinking, seriously, is there no God?
I had to go tell the lady in the Social Work office, and I am sure she was feeling horrible, because she thought that I had been blubbering about not having toilet paper for myself. She rushed to go tell a janitor. I think that maybe the worst feeling for me, is feeling powerless.
Maybe that is what Shelby was feeling too. That she wanted her friend to love her cats as much as she did, and it was hard to realize that there was no way to make her friend feel the way that she did. How can you feel so strongly about something, while at the same time other people who you love don't see the reality that seems clear as day to you? I know exactly how she feels.