All that was very low-key and cordial.
Then my husband's brother got in on the exchange and said that travel was for the upper class. He meant it.
We had extended the offer before, and my brother-in-law had torpedoed it in short order. His son had to stay home and work. (We offered to find him a job here, one that was more appropriate than earning minimum wage fixing flat tires.) What if he got lost? (We'd find him.) What if his car broke down? (We'd get it fixed.) Don't make him want things he can't have.
The kid is 21. Are they going to let him out soon?
I was far more irritated than my daughter, who was just laughing at being lumped in with the 1 percent. What a bizarre idea, using her Facebook page to criticize her, her friends and her family for succeeding. And what else could she have said when the poor kid expressed interest? "Neener neener neener, loser"?
Inviting him to visit us isn't exactly luring him into sin. This is not Aspen; it's a beautiful but impoverished place. We are not Beautiful People; we live in an 1,800-square foot house and get up every morning to go to work. We weren't going to sell him into slavery or even try to talk him out of voting for Rick Santorum - if he's allowed to vote. She just thought we'd show the kid a good time, as we have a lot of other kids.
There's an old adage about crabs in a bucket. Whenever one gets close to the rim, the others pull it back down. I'm trying to remember that. I'm trying to empathize with my brother-in-law.
But wow, resent much? Does sniping at my beautiful, well-traveled, upwardly-mobile, gracious daughter make you feel better?
My brother-in-law has made choices that have not served him well, and he continues to do so. This isn't all about the economy and the 99%. It's about being afraid to venture out, being afraid to fail, being afraid to even talk about trying. Those aren't traits to pass on.
I want to kidnap the kid and bring him here for deprogramming. I want to say, "Look! We got out; you can too! There's a wide world waiting!" I want to tell him, in a thousand different ways all summer long, that his dreams are worth dreaming.
And I want to smack his dad for picking on my kid.