Wednesday, June 30, 2010
The Long And Winding High Road
Danger! Danger! I’m in a reflective mood.
I have been thinking of family. And Pat Benatar comes to mind.
Love Is A Battlefield
Hope will be 1 on Saturday and the party of all parties is in the works. It will be in the backyard of our shared mother/daughter style house.
May I suggest – if one of your children ever says ‘we could share a house’ do as Nancy Regan suggested all those years ago – Just say NO
There isn’t a director on Broadway who could stage more drama than putting my family together. Add my DIL’s family.
If I start drinking now could I be in a coma by Saturday?
But wait …
Then I’d miss the smile that lights up the sun. The twinkling eyes that take in everything. The thoughtful gaze. The sweet chubby hand that gently touches my face. Or reaches for mine so we can walk around the yard looking for bugs and dogs.
Yes – Hope points to bugs and says ‘Dog’ and I say ‘Bug’ and she insists ‘Dog’.
And we laugh.
I am a left leaning Democrat in a family full of Republicans.
I am a tree hugger in a family full of SUV driving, concrete loving people who recycle only if they think they’ll get a ticket.
I am a spiritualist in a group that sends their kids to church with a donation envelope so the priest will think they were all there.
I am the one who married ‘that black guy’ in a family that ‘sticks to their own’
I am the oldest of 4 who were abused into adulthood. One killed herself. One doesn’t speak to the others. One drinks too much and buries himself in possessions.
And one keeps trying to fix it.
I am Mom to a kind soul who would rather boil his own head than talk about feelings, or the past, or his father, or his aunt, or …
My DIL despises me. Contempt is a word she has used. Utter contempt actually.
Wasn’t always that way. For years it was a friendship, a good friendship. I was once described as ‘the best future MIL anyone could hope for’.
That was when I earned 6 figures. When I bit my tongue about the way my son was treated. Waiting for her to handle it on her own. Not holding her responsible for her family. Just paying my own way – and most of everyone else’s.
I’m pretty sure I intimidate my DIL, or at least I did. Before I got sick. Before the money dried up. Nothing tests a relationship like illness and financial worries.
Friends tell me I never saw, or chose to see, that what is now so apparent was always there. They can’t believe that I was as mild mannered as I was. The human rights activist who let it go when her son was referred to as “the nigger my daughter is with”. The proud granddaughter who walked away when people laughed and celebrated a good car deal by describing it as “nothing better than Jewing down a Jew”.
I thought I was embracing peace over conflict. I told myself I was choosing my battles.
And so I embarked on the long and winding high road.
I grew up in endless conflict; shouting, cruel words, violence, hatred.
I want Hope to be surrounded by peace and love. I don’t want her in the middle of anything but a hug. She can so easily be used as a weapon by people who think so much of themselves and so little of others.
I remember something my Nana used to say – “what a shame to get old and still be so stupid”.
Nana always counseled me on the art of battle choosing. She had a keen talent for seeing who could be reached and perhaps changed and who should just be ignored.
Nana paved the high road.
I guess I’ll keep on keeping on.
"We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it." ~ Abraham Lincoln