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So many layers…………..

July 2, 2009

I don’t normally pick the topic du jour to write about. But, I have been thinking a lot about Michael Jackson this week – yeah, I know, who hasn’t been. Right now, thoughts of him have been nearly impossible to avoid. Love him or hate him, he was an icon of our pop culture. It would probably be hard to find anyone who doesn’t recognize his name.

MJ’s name came up at the pool. One of my friends is exploring online dating options and I suggested to her that she use the question, “what do you think about Michael Jackson’s death” as a barometer for picking the men she will go out with. Of course, I was half kidding. But think about it for a minute. You would know right away if the guy was a logical thinker with no room for gray areas, compassionate, in touch with his feminine side, a possible dance partner, a believer in plastic surgery, or just completely out of touch. Interesting, huh?

Like many, I have run the full spectrum of emotions – all the way from “dang that’s horrible” to “good riddance”.

But the central thread running through all that I have been thinking is what a real responsibility we have as parents to nurture our children. To hold them tight when it’s dark, to let go of their hands when they need to grow but to keep our own hands cupped behind them in case they stumble backwards, to just love them with our whole hearts. To not use them as a means to an end. To help them learn and love to smile and to wipe away their inevitable tears when they cry. To anticipate things that could hurt them and not throw them bound and gagged into harms way.

I saw a press conference given by Joe Jackson the other day. Before he talked about his son’s memory and the deep loss I am sure he is feeling (if no where else but in his wallet), he talked about a new project he was working on. My heart cracked. Even in his death, Michael still did not seem to have his father’s full attention – even when the rest of the world stood still if only for a second.

Really and truly, I could not believe it. The full circle of it all.

Here is a man who influenced the world in very spectacular ways and he never seemed to accept himself. How does this bode for the rest of us with much less lofty ambitions and accomplishments? The press keeps showing pictures of him as a boy and then as a man – it was a little sickening because it was just for shock value, letting the pictures say what they could not mutter aloud because it would have seemed inappropriate – but those pictures were just that – shocking and inappropriate. We all get it that Michael Jackson mutilated himself with surgeries and probably bleaching and God only knows what else. We all know he was a mess. And that his mess spilled over into the lives of so many. But I would argue that he is not the one who filled that glass and started tipping it over. He had a lot of help spilling!

I know he was accused of some very dark acts (and let me be clear that I would not have left my children in his care – not that he was asking, but you know what I am saying). Anyglove, he will soon enough be held accountable for all of that. I am not writing here to sit in judgment – just to evaluate my own parenting and make some adjustments. We can all use some improvement. His death reminds me of the damage we can all do to each other, so I am trying to be more patient, less critical, and just more loving in general.

I want my children to know that they are loved, protected, respected, and most importantly – accepted. And that I am so proud of them. Note to self – remember to act that way.

They also showed pictures of a run-down Neverland. Oh, the symbolism in that place. A child that was never allowed to be a child builds a magic kingdom that simply crumbles. So many broken little pieces.

Clearly Michael Jackson connected with his mother. After all, he has given custody of his children to her. But I am so sad for them. Not that life was going to be easy for them in the first place, but now they have lost their father. Horrible. But the obstacles ahead of them. Good grief. Katherine Jackson did not seem to do much enough to help Michael – what will happen to those kids?

I guess prayers are helpful – but humans are involved – so let’s also cross our fingers that things work out for those poor children and for anyone else affected by all of this.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. July 4, 2009 5:14 am

    Yes, he was an important figure in his genre of music. However, just because someone is a celebrity doesn’t make their passing any more tragic than the next person who dies suddenly, leaving children and family behind.

    Regardless of what the person did or did not do with their life, for good or for otherwise, it still is the loss of a life. Plain and simple.

    • deewane permalink
      July 4, 2009 7:17 pm

      Badass geek, I totally get what you are saying, but the phenomena that Jackson’s death has become is more due to the tragedy/tragedies (if you consider it that) associated with his life, either by his own accord, or by other people. His whole life just seems like such an utter failure of what people usually aspire to or are afraid to even dream about. No, I don’t think it’s the sudden-ness or the nature of his death that’s tragic, coz, let’s face it EVERYONE dies!

  2. deewane permalink
    July 4, 2009 1:07 am

    I was incredibly sad on hearing the news. The sadness was more due to selfish reasons than out of compassion though. MJ’s death sort of marked an end of an era for me, like loss of a piece of my childhood. Also made me think of how as a child I never even gave his changing skin color a second thought, it didn’t matter, it was still him!
    Recently watched his interview with Oprah and saw Neverland for the first time. Yes it is a place that a child, if given unlimited amount of money, would build. As an adult it seemed creepy that he would enjoy being on the joy-rides all by himself, but, I guess, that was the only way he was able to do it. It’s all just heart-breaking and I can never change the image I have of him in my head, an image formed at the age of 8, of this incredibly gentle creature, watching whom on video I well up and I don’t know why. I just hope that someone doesn’t announce a movie any time soon (but that’s just wishful thinking right?)

  3. July 3, 2009 9:50 pm

    GOOD LORD … I am NOT super woman. Blog post to come on THAT subject!

    This is my sanity … reading and writing … the kids have long been in bed and my glass of wine is right beside me (albeit in a red plastic “party cup”) and my favorite playlist is calming my mind, bringing order.

    I loved (on a second note) what Laura said about the daily “acceptance” that we need to practice with our kids. Need to write that on a 3 x 5.

  4. July 3, 2009 9:44 pm

    Naomi – how are you finding time to read and write? good heavens super woman! I edited my post to include I want my children to know they are accepted. I have a friend of a friend who says she does not have her gifts appraised – that’s what children are – and it is our responsibility to love them as they come to us the best that we can. Of course sometimes we have to parent them too – that is for sure – but all kids deserve love and acceptance.

  5. July 3, 2009 9:05 pm

    my BIL said “greatness came in a damaged and shattered package” … and it’s so true.

    I think that what gets me the most about all of this is that he didn’t seem to be able to embrace the greatness that he DID share with the rest of the world … and was always trying harder to simply be accepted.

    I hope that I am raising my children to reach higher, farther … but to be accepting of who they are … as they are.

    Well written …

  6. July 3, 2009 1:39 pm

    Deep – neverland is something else

    Miss Doo – I know, I know – no matter what he did or didn’t do enough with the scrutiny – I am sure there will be a million specials that review his life and we can watch him be raked over the coals but until then, can we just let him rest in peace??

    Loco – right back attacha! 😎

    Lola – at least I have proof that I am not the wackiest parent on the planet!

    Laura – good point – I am going to watch that too!

  7. Laura permalink
    July 3, 2009 1:33 pm

    I heard Toni Morrison a couple of years ago on Oprah talking about how you need to be as a parent with your kids. She asked, “when your child enters the room, do you light up?” She pointed out that so often the first thing we say to our child as he enters the room is something like, “have you combed your hair? Did you clean up your room? How many times have I told you to brush your teeth? Tuck in your shirt! Wash your face.” If you had to say, what percentage of the things you say in a given day to your child are just positive for no reason at all – I love you, your hair looks so nice, I’m so proud of you? Is it more or less than the more ‘parent-y’ things you say?

  8. July 3, 2009 1:16 pm

    Interesting take on it. It’s pretty obvious that every one of the Jackson kids hate Joe Jackson. No matter how far they’ve gone in life, and they’ve scaled some pretty big heights, they hate that bastard pushing them and beating them like circus animals and for eventually throwing them to the wolves for fame and money.

    Stage parents round the world should take note.

  9. July 3, 2009 1:14 pm

    Well said…sometimes I forget he has 3 kids…can’t picture him doing any kind of parenting, but I think his mother will do just find. After all she raised a tribe of kids and they mostly came out pretty ok…considering her partner was a tyrant…and she would have learned many things about living in the limelight that she didn’t know when Mike, Janet and company were kids…but she might be a little old to start over again
    God I love your writing style Reason2

  10. Miss Doo permalink
    July 3, 2009 7:35 am

    You captured it well (again!). It’s so sad. On this weekend of celebration for our freedom, here’s a perfect example of how much we all in this country still need to grow — as parents, and as FANS! Let’s leave these people alone for a while!

  11. July 3, 2009 5:54 am

    Yeah, the symbolism in Neverland is rather dramatic!

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