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The Meaning of Fair

People talk a lot about what’s “fair.” Which sibling gets more love or toys. Which town gets a bigger piece of the tax coffers. Which boater gets the better slip. Which parent makes the most carpool runs. For me, the “fair” discussion even extends into who gets to pick where we’ll live, and who brings out the garbage most often. Really, though, I should just realize that there is no “fair.” Fair is just a made-up concept that doesn’t work for anyone.

In every single scenario listed above there is someone who feels slighted. Someone who feels like life isn’t fair. In fact, to complain about any of the above doesn’t take into account the 22-year-old honor students who die of lupus or the 40-year-old woman who lives every day knowing her husband has multiple meyloma. Or even the widowed mother of three who met and fell in love with a complete loser more than two decades ago and will now live out her life taking care of that said loser who was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. I know all of the above people, and I can say with great certainty that none of these people are experiencing what I would call fair. Not even close.

No, in the absence of fair you’ve just got to figure out how you want to deal with what you’ve been given. Will you be an angry, hostile person or will you, like my multiple meyloma example, rise above it all and make the best of things. That’s what separates the men from the boys, I guess.

The example of the widow? That’s my mother. She met her boyfriend decades ago. To say he has issues is an understatement. This guy is a former cop who was cheated on by his wife. He is, in my opinion, a complete head case. I thoroughly dislike him with my every cell for many, many reasons. Take the fact that, for instance, even though the wife cheated, he refused to get a divorce because he didn’t want to give her half his pension or his house. Or the fact that we were not allowed to meet his kids because the wife wasn’t supposed to know about my mother. (A wife who kept trying to win him back.)

Oh, and how about his personality? He was and is so opinionated and so obnoxious that no one can bear to be in a room with him. And it’s not like he was a swell guy to my mom. Every other month he would fight with my mom, break up with her, and she’d be miserable. She’d swear she was never speaking to him again, but we all knew that she would.

It sucked. All I ever dreamed about was getting a dad — some type of dad — and maybe even an extended family with a sister or brother or two. Sort of like the Brady Bunch. Instead, I got the textbook definition of dysfunctional. You couldn’t GET a more dysfunctional deal if you tried.

Never one to hold my feelings in, my mother and I clashed often over this guy. Still do. I wanted so much more for her. She loves him, she says. She’s been with him longer than she was with my dad. (She met my dad when she was 16. He died when she was 36; She and the loser have been together for more than 25 years.) But still, I wanted so much more for her. After working so hard for so long doesn’t she deserve someone who can take care of her? Doesn’t she deserve someone who is well and able to take her places and help her enjoy life? Wouldn’t that be FAIR? Instead she’s the caregiver again. She’s unhappy, scared, and tired. Again.

No, there is no fair in this world. At least the way I see it.

One Response to “The Meaning of Fair”

  1. susan delg says:

    We all want more for the people we love, but it’s easier to look from the outside and make judgments. My sister was married to a nut case for years and the things he did to her would make your head spin. I think the fact that he made her sleep on the couch (the very uncomfortable couch) after having surgery from breast cancer because she wasn’t up to taking care of his “needs” was the straw that broke the camel’s back. That and the fact that he told her she got cancer because she’s an evil woman did her in. And as sad as I find this post, and as much as I sympathize with the situation, I have to say I was amused by your tags. :)

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