Privilege Blog

Sunday at Dad’s

It’s Sunday. Temperatures are predicted to reach 90 degrees. The siblings, those of us in Northern California, are going to Dad’s house for lunch. Where we will sit on the deck and eat something probably involving a lot of vegetables and perhaps some grilled chicken. We will drink Perrier most likely although someone might have white wine even so early in the day. And the sky will be blue and we will look out over the black bottomed swimming pool and there will be very little noise other than some birds in the trees. We will be privileged. And with any luck, grateful.

I used to think all this was normal. That my circumstances weren’t unusual. I am not sure how I managed to keep that belief for so long. There are implications. What to do when comfort food means grilled asparagus with fresh herbs on a deck overlooking the long hillside? What does that mean for a family? For many years I thought we all loved each other because we were intelligent, examined people. Then I suspected that we might all love each other in part because it’s easy to do so in such abundant circumstances. Families are complex. I love mine very much. Best not to look a gift horse in the mouth.

8 Responses

  1. Life is good, family is good, the weather here in northern California is gorgeous today. I am sitting here on my couch with the windows open, enjoying the fresh air. Nice that you live close enough to your dad to visit him for lunch. :)

  2. That feeling when the realization hits you that perhaps everyone is not the same and doesn’t come from the same circumstances was very strange. We’re thinking you remember it…?

    May the week ahead be lovely,

    PS: Loved reading about the sibling rivalry and ultimate collaboration!

  3. I brought a friend from boarding school home once who told me that as we drove up the driveway of my house she thought I was taking her to a hotel. And still I didn’t get it. Although I knew the facts of the difference I didn’t apply enough insight to see how it manifested itself in who I turned out to be. Trying to remedy that now.

  4. The fact that you appreciate it now, speaks volumes about what kind of person you became.

  5. I grew up abroad on military bases, where everyone lives in the same kind of house and has one car (because the military will not pay to move more than one). Status was determined by rank, but even my best friend, whose dad was the wing commander (like 2nd in command for the entire area), didn’t have stuff that was nicer than ours. Pay just wasn’t that different among the officers and besides, what was there to buy in the Panama Canal Zone? Everyone shopped at the same store (the base exchange).

    It wasn’t until I got to college that I realized that there were people in the world who lived at a completely different level. It was a shock! I thought that kind of rich was just in the movies, but here it was in my classmates.

    A friend wrote me a letter one summer and told me that her mother was taking her to Europe for a few weeks but wasn’t telling her to which countries because she wanted it to be a surprise. She was having a very different summer from mine: I was working 20 hours a week as a swimming teacher and then another 40 hours as a lifeguard, all for minimum wage, so I would have money to buy books and my weekend meals (not covered in our meal plan) for the next school year. It was so interesting for me to see these glimpses of another world.

  6. Maybe you love each other in part because, well, that’s what families do.

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