Fishbowls deux

if you missed my first post on Fishbowls and how they have contributed to the MollyROCK story, you can read it here:

Have I mentioned how much I love being back in Georgia? Don’t get me wrong. I sometimes cry because I miss my friends, students, and life in Nashville. It’s awkward to be a 30-something starting a new life, in a new city, and attempting to start a revolution at the same time. While I have spent the better part of the last decade flapping my wings in Music City, my roots stick long and deep in the Georgia clay. I can’t help it. I spent the first 13 years of my life certain that the sole purpose of the Capitol was for my merriment. I twisted those heavy doorknobs with the Georgia seal like I owned them and whatever was behind them. (Hopefully a coke and some peanuts.)

I knew it was only a matter of time before I remembered why I stayed away for a while. On this lovely Friday the 13th, I awoke with a mixture of dread and excitement of a Friday the 13th in a middle school on a snow make up day. As I often do, after a few rounds of the snooze button and begging Mary Nell (best dogchild in the history of histories) to stop jumping on me to remind me my alarm was going off, I cruised on over to the Facebook on my phone.

I noticed a photo and a caption on my feed that looked familiar and saw the word, “mayor.” I’d like to say that I didn’t pause because I hadn’t had my Diet Coke yet. I hadn’t, but also, keeping it real, there are a lot of gray-headed mayors in the world. Later in the day, I happened to click on Facebook during my planning period while waiting on a computer program to load, and I saw a post that my brother had made. He rarely posts, so I knew that I needed to put my Diet Coke activated brain to work. I did a brief investigation, checking out the local newspaper online. I saw the headline, but I don’t really have a desire to pay to read their articles. I put “text Mom, Dad, and Griffin to find out what Dad ‘did’ this time” on my endless, mental to-do list. I scrolled a little further and saw more posts about my Dad. At this point, the Mama Bear (well Baby Bear) started to well up. I didn’t know what the story was, but I was angry.

I got up to close my classroom door so that I could do some hard-core investigating without fear of being caught. (But seriously, it was my planning period on Friday the 13th of a snow day, give a girl a break.) First, I took note of the people saying ugly things about my dad. I began to devise mature, eloquent, and thoughtful responses to their comments.

{The list included, but was not limited to:

  • “Well your hair looks stupid.”
  • “There’s a difference between city council and city counsel. Do you know to which one you are referring?”
  • “Your dog isn’t even cute.”
  • “You post a lot of pictures of Maxine, do you have a life?”
  • “You’re a cotton headed ninnymuggins.”}

I clicked on the link to the news story and began to watch the video. The first time, I was mad. I had tears welling up and I had to fight the urge to get in my car and hunt down the reporter. Then, I rewound the video and started to think about fishbowls. Yes, here Dad was, once again in a fishbowl– people just staring and circling, waiting on him to mess up. But then, I stopped looking out at the world through his fishbowl. Instead, I hopped into my fishbowl labeled, “Daughter who misses her pre-grief Dad and who has tried to hold the pieces of her heart together as she has watched him slip further away.” I probably should shorten that. I don’t think an average sized fishbowl could accommodate such a large label. Through my viewpoint in this bowl, I couldn’t see the stupid basis (or non-basis) for this investigative report. The anger turned to elation.

How did I so quickly find joy in watching a woman falsely accuse my dad of being a crook? Easy. Grief makes you a citizen of Crazytown. Also, I was looking through a different fishbowl, and the part that was magnified for me was my Daddy. Many don’t know that last summer, a few days before our first scheduled family vacation since Molly died, Dad had some chest pains. Luckily, he went straight to the hospital. He’ll argue with us about this, but he had a mild heart attack. He was able to have one stent placed, and has done really well. One of the first things that Mom and I noticed after his return from the Cath Lab was his skin coloring. For a long time prior, he had grown very pale. We chalked it up to exhaustion and grief. Good thing we aren’t MDs, it was actually because his blood wasn’t flowing properly. On the news video this morning, in the right fishbowl, I saw my Dad’s skin tone. It was pink and flesh-colored and beautiful. Then, I noticed something even more beautiful. Before Molly died, my Dad was never one to back down from a fight. He never backed down from what he knew was right, and many Atlanta journalists admired him for his candor and his vivacious spirit. To be honest, over the last 5 years, his spirit has been squashed. While the old Dad would giggle and crack his knuckles at the thought of a “fight” with the press, my new Dad had backed down from some “fights.” For the battles he picked, his affect was flat, and you could tell his mouth was working, but his heart wasn’t in it. Today, I saw a glimpse of my Daddy who is the strongest man in the world, and who makes me know I don’t have to be afraid of anything with him. He asserted himself, engaged in banter, and had the twinkle in his eye that let me know he was in fighting form, if only for a brief time. Because of that, I noticed the kind things that people were saying about him on social media, and I had such a peace that I had a super productive and succesful day at work. For today, I was able to devote less of my thoughts to worrying about my Dad.

So to 11 Alive, I am sorry that you had a slow news day, but thank you, once again for picking on my dad from your fishbowl. It allowed me to pay attention to another fishbowl of mine. You may think you really zinged him. Sad news for you, I’ve seen him zinged only a few times in my life, and none of them had to do with what the media thought of him. While you did not present an earth-shattering case, you did tickle Dad’s “ready for battle bone,” and I was certain it had been buried with my sister.

I hope to keep the MollyROCK fishbowl set smack dab in the middle of families. I hope we can see their strengths, I hope we can find the beauty, I hope we can find the peace.

Keep MollyROCK in everything you do. Fights with media, comments on Facebook, and everywhere between.

More than meat loves salt,



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