Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Letters From Mama: Flattery and Sweet Lips

I received this letter from Mama on May 1, 2002, exactly eight months after I was married to my beautiful bride, Kristine.  Remember, in her letter imploring me to not get married, she warned me that my life was going to be miserable if I didn't get her permission first.  Of course, I went ahead and got married.  Any man would have if it was Kristine he was getting married to.  She was worth the risk.

Let's read (I have changed the names of some parties for their privacy):
Dearest, dear Joseph,

[Yecht!  Again.  Treating me more like a lover than a son.  I might be splitting hairs here, but it does still strike me as a bit creepy.  Sure, I was pretty freaking hot, but...nevermind.]

Almost a year ago we were over at the Lollapaloosas and on their hallway wall, I noticed plaques with their family's name meanings, and the one for Joseph caught my eye, and I asked Ursula if I could copy it down, and she brought me the sweetest little piece of note paper, farm-harvest-pioneer days illustration, and the verse printed at the very top of it seemed very much a blessing:

God will bless all your harvests. - Deuteronomy 16:15.

[Well gee gads Mama!  Why didn't ye gallivant across that there verse before you wrote me that durn letter back yonder 'fore I got meself hitched, eh?

Get used to the run-on sentences. She
loves them!  ]

Here's what I copied down:

"JOSEPH, Increasing Faithfulness.  The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning. - Proverbs 16:21."

I took it as a promise from God to me concerning you, and saw that it matched the plaque on top of the wardrobe in the boys' room upstairs.

[Wait.  So, a year ago, she came across some plaque that says that God is going to bless me, that I am wise and prudent, and all that lip sweetness crap, and she STILL wrote me a letter telling me that I was an idiot and needed to get right with God (Mama) and not get married?  Why was I a fool then, but wise now?

It's an easy, yet complicated answer.  Mama had this idea from Bill Gothard's seminars and all the hyper-patriarchal (matriarchal?) material we consumed at our church, that it was required of us to get our parent's permission to marry.  She would be against it all the way up until the vows.  Then, a marriage was written in some heavenly book and could not be broken, thus Mama had to accept it as reality.  As much love as was possible then spewed from her, including "love" that reprimanded for not being holy enough.

It's like my father spoke of when he was a family crisis lawyer.  He called it the "glow after the blow".  The intense lusty love that a man feels for his wife after beating her.  It felt just as fake - partly because she explained it to us as such.]

As I pass that plaque often, I am reminded; and as I use the little slip of notepaper as the bookmark in the first of the 5 portions of the Bible I am reading in, I am daily reminded.

[Hint hint.  I am wise and you should listen to me because I read five parts of the Bible every day.]

And each time, I am reminded, I am more and more glad, and my heart swells with increasing thanksgiving to God, because I see the promise being fulfilled: that you are increasing in faithfulness; and I see the sweetness of your lips increasing your learning, and making you wise in heart!

[Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!  Anyway, I was a good kisser, but I don't know how she knew that.  And, yes, kissing a lot sure as heck teaching a body how to do other things.  It always leads to something else - good kissing, anyway.

Can you hear the flattery?  I wonder what I did to deserve her "praise".  It was probably one of my weaker moments where I asked for "counsel" from her because I felt it was what Bill Gothard's god would have wanted me to do.  I brought so much unnecessary pain and suffering on my family in those years.  My mother ate it up, though and, with letters like this, groomed me for more.]

I love you, Joseph [Dammit!  Call me Joe!  She always refused.  It was a power thing.], and I am glad God let you be born through me.

[Now WHY did you have to bring THAT into the picture!  Holy galoshes! Please explain to me why you have to use that word picture.  Blecht!  I need a shower.]

P.S. [Uh oh...]  a side note:  that little box of note paper you gave me, that says "On that note:" on each sheet and is covered with musical things, gives me fresh delight often each day, and I am grateful all over again each time to you for giving it to me.  Thank you!

[All that for some dumb paper?  Seriously, why?  She's like the Scarlett O'Hara of the ghetto.]

That's it folks.  Another creepy one from the archive.  Now go take a bath.  I'm going to work on my sweet lips - on Kristine, mind you.


  1. The letters from your Mama makes my skin go all creepy crawly. Reading them makes me laugh and also feel sad. Everyone deserves to have a good mom. I hope you've found a better one or will find one in the future.

  2. Her letters make me feel like I'm in a dream sequence: everything's kind of floaty and the colors all run into each other. She's got a nice ear for poetry. Too bad she uses it to produce such disturbing letters.

  3. I agree. She actually was an editor for her dad's daily reader when she was younger. I got my love of writing and good English from her.

  4. I'm interested to know whether or not she talks like this in person.

  5. Who uses phrases like "sweet lips" and "fresh delight" these days? It's just creepy and weird to write to a son like that. Ich!

  6. Eww. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. I like your Letters From Mama segment, because the letters are so like letters/warnings I used to receive. At the time, I probably fell for them, but now I see them for the laughable...nothings they are.

    Usually, I can see through Mama without your added commentary, but this one..WTF is she saying?! Does Mama have a problem with prescription drugs? (I'm assuming such a gothardly, uh, godly I meant, woman doesn't drink alcohol).

    You want my next therapy session? Cuz I'm good, if you do. :)