When my sister and I were growing up, we looked forward to ABC’s TGIF lineup of shows every Friday night. Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Boy Meets World, even Teen Angel, a show with a terrible premise about an obnoxious high school kid eating a contaminated burger, dying, and coming back as an angel; all of them made us laugh. Even my dad watched with us, and he usually left the room when the television came on.
We could use a little TGIF tonight. My sister is in LA, my parents are in CO, and I’m down here in SD (not South Dakota for all you other SD-ers). When we were in elementary school watching Corey and Topanga, all of my grandparents were still with us. We’d see my Grandma and Papa Canter almost every weekend, and visit the Hebbert Grandparents on the farm (in the original SD) every summer, plus usually once in the fall or winter.
The back driveway of the farm, recently mowed.
Now, three of the four have passed, and my parents are dealing with the fallout of my remaining grandmother’s aging. My sister and I, out here, are figuring out how to help them, sometimes feeling more helpless than helpful. Back in fifth grade, the biggest drama in my life was that the neighbor girl thought Sabrina the Teenage Witch was sinful because it promoted witchcraft. My biggest expense was a mini jukebox cd player from Sam’s Club.
This one, in fact.
It’d be easy to write a paragraph now about how those were the good old days, and isn’t life harder now, with my rent checks and my job where adults act like 5th graders? And after the day, the week, I’ve had, it’s tempting to want to go back, to be that young kid, cuddled up on the couch next to Mom, watching older kids on t.v. and hoping to one day be like them. I’m not like them. I didn’t grow up to be a witch or an angel or a Topanga. And while life seems more complicated now than it was then, I wouldn’t go back for all the money in the world. In spite of where we are–as a family, as a couple, as a country–I believe that we move towards good. We get better, stronger, wiser, and with that comes sorrow. With that comes struggle.
Tonight, instead of TGIF, I’m watching the sun set from my apartment window. The sky is pink and purple; the horizon peachy gold. A few hours after work and eleven days before the election, I’m trying to remember that we move towards good. As MLK would say, better than I have here, the arc of the moral universe bends towards justice. And at least for tonight, at least for this weekend, it is enough to lay down the sorrows and the struggles, and remember that fact.