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.