Sunday, February 7, 2010


My kids are so spoiled. Today we took them to see Sesame Street Live. I cannot even give an accurate count of how many times we have gone to see Sesame Street Live. When I was a kid, my Uncle Herb took my cousins and I to see Sesame Street Live one time and it was seriously a highlight of my childhood. He bought me an Oscar the Grouch banner, which could very well still be in a box in my mom's basement. After the show today, we went to eat in Greektown. This is such a common occurrence that my kids pretty much expect a meal in Greektown whenever we do something downtown. I can remember going to Greektown once when I was a kid, and it wasn't until 5th or 6th grade. I went with my friend Kim and her mom, after a trip to the Science Center. We ate at the Pegasus in Trapper's Alley. It was a really big deal for me.

While I am happy that my kids have had numerous opportunities to do fun thing like this,  I'm not always sure we are doing them any favors. Do they really appreciate any of it? If they don't really appreciate it now, will they someday look back on their childhoods and thank us for everything? I want to give them everything, which I'm pretty sure is normal. But I also want them to know how fortunate they are. We do try to reinforce this idea, but who knows whether or not it is sinking in.

In contrast to my spoiled kids, yesterday I saw a homeless man at Eastland. I know he was homeless because he was carrying around a dirty black garbage bag which probably contained all his worldly belongings. This is probably not uncommon. Homeless people have to go somplace during the day when the shelters are closed, and the mall is as good a place as any. But somehow I've never really noticed. I couldn't miss this guy, since he was staring longingly into the display case at Auntie Anne's while I was standing in line. He nicely asked me to buy him something to eat, anything. I was wavering. I felt bad for the guy, but I am instinctively wary of strange men asking me for food or money, especially when I am by myself. As it turned out, the pretzel sticks I wanted were not ready, and when I came back 10 minutes later to get them, the man was gone. If he had still been standing there, maybe I would have bought him something to eat. I wonder if someone else bought him some food, or if a security guard came by and told him to stop loitering.

Last week, Chris saw a homeless man sleeping on the bottom shelf of the back aisle of the Dollar Tree near our house. This guy must have been exhausted and defeated beyond belief to clear off a shelf for a bed and wad up dirty paper towels for a pillow at the Dollar Tree. I think in general there is a lack of compassion for the homeless;  people seem to be annoyed and disgusted by them. Maybe people just don't want to think about this sector of the population because they are an ugly reminder that bad things can happen; or else they think the homeless are nothing but a bunch of junkies.  But my heart aches for anyone without a home and without a family to take them in. We are so blessed, and we can't ever forget that for one single moment.

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