Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

Responsibility

It was another exciting Grammy day with Petra, and the playland at McDonalds was hoppin’ with activity. Most of the older kids had gone back to school, so the place was full of grandparents and smaller children. My little charge was sporting a new dress, compliments of her Aunt Mihyun and Uncle Nathan. Unable to decide which pair of flip-flops best completed the ensemble, she was wearing two different flip-flops, and was adamant about placing them neatly in the shoe bin.There was another young girl with an equally puffy dress, and she and Petra took turns jumping off the step and watching their dresses fly up. I think they believed they were flying. A trio of older children showed up, and the girl, about seven or so, immediately took to Petra and the other young one, and as happens with little and big girls, they quickly formed the dynamic of the older girl helping the younger ones scale the slide, crawl over the fences, and generally being at their beck and call.

I relaxed and sipped my diet Coke and took the chance to do some people watching. The older girl had two brothers, pretty close in age, with the older boy being around eight or nine. I think they were involved in a child exchange, as the mom sat in the lobby and the father came in to have lunch with the kids. After eating, the man stood up and announced he had to get back to work, and the kids hugged him and he left the playland.

A few seconds later there was an incredibly loud wailing sound coming from the back of the playland. Myself, and several other Grammies, instinctively covered our ears as we realized someone had breached the security of the playland doors, and the increasingly loud sound was that of the emergency alarm, letting us know someone had tried to escape. The kids scattered like rats, each one running to their guardian with scared looks on their faces. Petra immediately took a seat next to me, and looked at me with eyes that said “I didn’t do it.”

None of the kids seemed afraid, but they all seemed to naturally know that someone had done something wrong, and it was important to them that it be known they hadn’t done it. They looked at each other wide-eyed and accusingly. I noticed the young boy I had seen with his father earlier stood nervously by the door. His cheeks were red with embarrassment, but he didn’t flee. His eyes darted around to all of us, probably looking for whoever was in charge. I expected him to split as soon as no one addressed him, but he nervously paced back and forth in front of the door. I finally made eye contact with him, and he seemed relieved to confess his sin. He was clearly afraid of whatever consequences came with opening a security door.

“I did that. That was me.” He said, on the verge of tears.

“Aw, well, it was bound to happen. No worries,” I tried to make him feel better.

“I was saying good bye to my dad,” He explained as the alarm continued to blare. He stood his ground even as he looked around, waiting for the authorities to come take him away for committing such a horrendous crime. Finally, the lobby guy who cleans the playland, an elderly gent, sauntered into the playland and slowly worked his way across the room to the door. He inserted a key, turned it and the alarm ended. It clearly wasn’t the first time someone had opened the forbidden door, and I don’t think he even cared who did it.

But that young boy did. He was adamant about owning up to his mistake, and equally adamant about taking any punishment that came with it. He stood directly in front of the  older man and confessed again.

“That was me. I did  that. I was trying to say good bye to my dad.” He waited silently for his punishment.

“Well, don’t touch the security doors.” And with that, the old man went back to work and the young man breathed a sigh of relief and a big grin spread over his face. He had owned his crime, confessed to his sin, and was let off with a warning. He had to feel pretty good about himself. He had done the right thing.

Our country’s leaders, celebrities and athletes could learn a thing or two about maturity and integrity from this young fellow. And he wasn’t even ten years old yet.

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August 19, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Slip Slidin’ Away…

I saw a thriller movie many years ago about the past being erased. As it was erased, somehow people and the planet began to disappear. I don’t remember the entire plot or outcome of the movie, but I do remember it made me really think about what the past is. It was breathtaking to me to realize that the past is merely memories inside our own heads, supported only by photographs and written words. It was disconcerting to me at the time, but Jessica was still young and I lived in the constant chaos of surviving, without much free time to ponder. I buried the thoughts in my mind and carried on.

And now I find myself at an age where I probably have more past than future in my mind. Don’t get me wrong. I’m healthy and plan to live another forty years at least, but from what I understand about the mind there’s only so much room for data, so eventually memories and knowledge will be pushed out to make room for new. Are we able to determine what stays and what goes? How do we preserve our most precious memories?

On a daily basis I visit memories of Jessica throughout all stages of her life. I remember when they first laid her in my arms. I remember when she started walking and ran into the corner of the wall, giving herself a huge goose egg in the middle of her forehead. I remember when she was four and would only wear dresses, and I remember running through the mall minutes before closing time to shop for her prom dress. It seems like just last week I walked into her hospital room after she had given birth to her own daughter, Petra. As I looked into the face of my granddaughter for the first time, it was like looking at Jessica for the first time. A new lifetime of memories had begun. A lifetime that I know I will not be around to see to the end.

Now I enjoy a stable life with little chaos, but which allows me plenty of time to ponder. Which is more important, preserving my past or creating my future? Is there a way to do both? Is it a simple fact of aging and evolution that some things will be forgotten?

During my youth all of my struggles were physical, tangible things. Paying the bills, getting the car fixed, raising Jessica and dealing with whatever life threw my way. It seems my middle-age years are destined to be full of internal challenges, which in a way are much harder for me to handle. I’ve never been really comfortable dealing with myself, in my own mind, it’s easier to focus on others and their struggles. So I suppose the time has come. I can’t deny it any longer. I’m officially middle-aged. It’s time for me to start doing brain exercises and crossword puzzles.

Forever the optimist, I can think of a few positive things about entering the second stage of life. Thanks to Mi Amante I am now a card-carrying member of AARP, which gets me discounts at dozens of places. I’m also able to pull off wearing brightly colored pants. I can get away with being as contentious as I like, or eccentric as it’s called at my age. And the accessories possibilities are endless!  I will be able to wear macaroni necklaces made my Petra, and funky earrings and trinkets just for fun. And let’s not forget the gaudy holiday sweaters.

June 4, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Haunted by the young

HAUNTED BY THE YOUNG
I made the tragic mistake of boarding the 65 bus in the early afternoon, just as the junior high and high schools were letting out. The bus filled up with young hooligans quickly, and I scrunched deeper into the corner back seat. I had deliberately chosen that seat to be isolated and enjoy the scenic ride along Monaco, with only my thoughts go keep me company. It was snowing heavily and I was slowly working my way to Robert’s house. I had spent the morning writing mindless online posts, and intended to enjoy the ride. I looked forward to the two mile walk from the bus stop to his house in the fresh air and snow.

The children were cramping my space,as three of them took seats near me and began their senseless teenage chatter. They appeared to be about 13 or 14, two boys and one girl. They looked a bit nerdy by teenage standards, the boys’ feet looking too big for their skinny ankles, which peeked out from beneath pants that in my teenage years we would have called floods. Their pants were baggy, not in a gangster kind of way, but more like they had gone through a growth spurt since the beginning of the year, losing their baby fat and thinning out, as they simultaneously grew taller.

Their cheeks were red and blotchy, not from the cold so much as that constant state of insecurity and embarrassment indicative of young males. One boy and the girl were teasing the other boy, apparently he was moving, and this was his last day at school. They were well spoken, teasing him about needing therapy without his calming presence, dramatically declaring their love for him, how could they live without him. The words were said in jest, and the young man took the good natured ribbing quietly, only the deepening red spots on his cheeks indicated he heard their words.

I listened to this banter for several miles, before the young man pulled the cord signaling his stop. They gave him a final farewell jab of love, and he silently got off the bus. He turned to wave good bye, and I could see the forbidden tears of sorrow begin to fall down his face.

April 22, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment