Cafe Today | Pop Tarts, A Chance Meeting and The American Family


A well deserved day off after many  weeks.  Finally!   Just a carefree day.  Or, so I thought.

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I am up and ready to run errands before 7am. I always start my day early whether I wish to do so or not. You see, I have a cat!  My adopted furry house-buddy is Milly. Those of you who keep a Cat – after all, no owns a Cat – knows you never ever need an alarm clock.   Milly keeps to her own schedule.  Which of late includes sharing that crazy schedule with me.  She quickly and adeptly took to my personal House Rule #1. If I am up. Everyone else is up.   Before 5:00 am just isn’t good for anyone.  Good thing she’s cute!  Well, that was great for me when life moved at the speed of light.       Now,  Not so much!

Milly My House Buddy ©Cafe Today 2011

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 On this well deserved “Me, Me, Me,  all about me day” I stopped at the local market for the usual Milly Treats and a beverage of choice.  No, silly!  It’s 8 am   Gotta have  my Coffee.  Upon entering the door I spy the gourmet foods section. Trying not to drool, I peruse quickly  and move on. Standing in front of me is a lady staring intently at a box of  Pop Tarts.  She glanced my way  and said out loud with a longing and a bit of wonder in her voice, “You know….when I was a kid… Brown Sugar Cinnamon was good enough for me.  How does one even begin to choose these days?”    “Well, what looks good to you?”   I say “At the moment , everything! ”       We both chuckled.  Two adults talking Pop Tarts!

Chocolate Fudge Pop Tarts courtesy Kellogg’s Corporation

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“Thoughts”  came to mind at that moment.  Thoughts over at    http://thoughtsappear.wordpress.com/  and her Pop Tart  obsession.  Whenever I spy those tasty little treats, she comes to mind.  Sorry!  I digress!

  Anyway….. One thing led to another.  The conversation evolved into quality of snack foods…. kids not being active…… what can we do to encourage adults and kids to consider healthy choices and more.  Well, after all we are busy people and have the need to talk so fast that  ‘short-hand speak’ falls easily into our chat.    We were talking as if we were long time neighbors and just happened upon each other at the grocer.  We were strangers. Yet,  after  only a short time, we were. no longer.  The conversation bounced around to every aspect of life.  Almost.  I discovered she had 3 children, from elementary to high school.  She worries about them and what each passing year brings to their lives.  We all have or have had those fears for our children.

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 Her mother is a recent addition to her household.  Her mother having  recently retired, was diagnosed with the early stages of dementia and can no longer be left on her own.  This has been quite an adjustment as one would imagine.  Everyone is on board, yet it means many changes.  Huge changes.  The family is making sacrifices and it seems the daughter now becomes the “Mother” to her mom.  Not so uncommon these days.   The mother/grandma is very fortunate to be surrounded by a loving family.  I shared some of my experiences with my own mother and family as they were strikingly similar.  For my mother, as the dementia progressed rapidly,  she had to live in a facility that could care for her.  A few months later she passed away.

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Multi Generations Family – The New Normal
via Nebraska Dept of Human Services

We talked a bit longer.  Then she said that “thing” that had quite an impact on me.  I have heard this many times from so many  I knew.    The “thing”…..This lady has brothers and sisters who live close by.  Yet, she is the only one making sacrifices and caring for their mother.  Why?  Her siblings seem to think it is a waste of time to even visit their mother.    “She doesn’t remember if we have been there or not,  so why come around.” The siblings excuse.   “That was not true.  She remembers many things.” The daughter defends her mother, hoping for understanding.  Not  one of them can bring themselves to give their loving sister any type of emotional support, let alone financial support.  She is ignored.  Lonely. Hurt. So very sad.  She is loosing her mother a little each day, her family makes sacrifices each day and her siblings are deserting her.   A family in crisis. 

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This poor lady, struggling to do her best as a daughter and mother to her family, is attempting to give her mother a life with love and dignity.  As her mother had surely done for her and her siblings since the day they were born.   This attempt at “being all” to everyone is great feat.   One can only attempt this  through prayer and surrounded by loving individuals.  The ‘Pop Tart’ Lady feels alone and fearful of what each day could bring.  I understand completely.  The tears are now threatening to roll down her cheek.  She wasn’t crying.  Just brown eyes flooding with tears of frustration.  “We must share the same brothers and sisters”  I added quickly.   Mine were selfish, heartless and uncaring as well!”  OK!  That at least brought a big smile.  Whew!  A crisis averted in the Pop Tart aisle!  

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My heart went out to this lovely woman and I was a bit puzzled as to how to help her.  I could only offer words of encouragement and support.  This is the latest version of the new American family.  The norm for a family unit constantly evolves these days.   Yours, Mine and Ours!  The 2 dad family.  The 2 mom family!  Blended families in any shape or form.  These changes are even reflected in nightly television, movies and in print.  At the turn of the 20th century, it was the standard for a family to include Grandma, Grandpa, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, whoever.  It was just one big family under the same roof.  It did not matter the generations.  They were all family.  It was what one did.

We seem to be reverting to a similar version of that family here in the 21st century.  Actually, many versions of a family.  Far too many to list.  Still, I am irked at her siblings.  Nothing, Nada, Zip and big fat zero from them.  Shame on them!  You know that old saying, what goes around………?    

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Lilo & Stitch

Lilo & Stitch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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FAMILY.  In the Disney movie Lilo & Stitch, Stitch fell, literally, into a new family and both human and alien  learned to adjust.  During that adjustment period Stitch reeked havoc on the house , the neighborhood, the family’s relationships and oh so much more.  As part of the dialogue…. there was a line  where the little girl, Lilo speaks to Stitch…

”  ‘Ohana means family – no one gets left behind, and no one is ever forgotten. ”  ~Written by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, Lilo & Stitch.    Very powerful words!

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How does it happen, that writers for an animated children’s movie involving an alien, understand human behavior better than the rest of us?  Anyone can become part of a family.  Example:  My Milly…the “no alarm required”  cat.  Some have ‘aliens’, some have pet snakes.  Eeesh!   Yes, anyone can be part of a family.  I do not have any answers.  Many thoughts, but no answers.  Having asked one of my co-workers these questions, she believes a good slap to the head for the siblings is the best way to deal with them.  Ah, yes!  Ye olde…must get their attention first ploy.   Well, I for one, am all for this.  However, this action may not be completely practical in all instances.  The BIG question is   “Will our families be loving and supportive when we need them?”    It’s a roll of the dice!  Answers are not easy here.  The thoughts – difficult.    I have hope for our future.  Life today is like a  rocky road ice cream cone….. tasty – messy – without the crunchy cone for support.  

  To all of you  ‘Ohana !         May no one be forgotten or left behind.     ~  Barb@Cafe Today

* * *

What would you do if you were in her shoes?     How would you handle this situation?

Could you make those sacrifices?  What could be done to encourage the family to participate? 

6 thoughts on “Cafe Today | Pop Tarts, A Chance Meeting and The American Family

  1. Philosophies can even be found in a Pop Tart aisle. :-) If Karma is real, I hope this lady has a windfall of happiness heading her way. I think it is so sad how people feel the lack of responsibility to those who gave a large portion of their lives to get us to where we now are. I am certain that your conversation offered this lady a little bit of happiness and a lot of companionship. She was fortunate Milly felt you needed to get up and going early today.

    • Hi Tara,

      Milly thinks I need to get up far too early most days. Before 5am is no longer civil for me.

      Thank you for such thoughtful, kind words. I like the way you think. Perhaps a windfall is coming her way. I hope so! I was impacted by this chance meeting. Perhaps we both benefited in some way. I’d like to think so.

      Best to you Tara.

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