Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Letters From Mama: An Expert on Love

At the beginning of our marriage - okay, for the first six years - I felt that it was my Christian duty to visit Mama and love her with my simple presence.  The visits were excruciating for Kristine.  Mama was very good with the condescending comments and seemed to whip them out at will at the worst times.  Kristine would cry on the way home some days.

It was worse for the children.  Mama had a cupboard full of toys.  So many toys, a large commercial daycare would be entertained for a month.  But my kids were only allowed to take out one toy at a time and play with it.  Then, before they could play with something else, they had to put the toy back.  That ruined all the fun.  Every parent knows that a kid hasn't had any fun unless every toy and non-toy is strewn all over the floor, in the sink, and flushed down the toilet.  Sure, they have to learn the responsibility of cleaning, but, gosh durn it, the kid has to have fun!

Then the floor to ceiling, full wall length, bookshelf in the dining room.  It was full of kids books and other books for any age.  Picture books galore, piled up to the ceiling.  A child's paradise.  But, again, one book at a time.  And if one of my kids grabbed two, they lost the book reading privilege altogether.

One day, with all of this love, we received the following note from Mama, in reference to one of our visits:


Dear Joseph and Kristine! :)

[Addressing this note to Kristine was big deal.  Mama would just as soon forget that she existed than have to speak to her in a cordial manner.]

Thanks!  Thanks!  Thanks!  for the gracious day yesterday!  Even enjoyed the humor-filled, love-filled talking about your arguments and will keep you lifted up to [God] that He would, in the midst of them, ever so graciously keep you reminded of His helps in His Word so that even in private you will be able to have them infused with humor and agape love! :)

[So glad that sentence ended.  I was losing my breath just reading it. 

What does she mean by the word "even"?  I find it a little odd to have it placed in the position it is placed.  It's almost as if Mama was saying that she normally didn't like talking about marriage with me.  Unfortunately for her, I flaunted all of it.  My joys, my faults, my fights, my kisses, my flowers.  Every bit of raw humanity that made up the intimate love I felt for my bride, I threw it at her. 

Come to think of it, I think I did it purposefully.  I hated how she beat my dad and kicked him out of the house to sleep behind a bank sign night after night.  I hated the yelling matches they had at night.  I hated how she burned into my heart, a seething hatred for the man he was, which I discovered later, was nothing but a pack of lies.  I wanted her to see the beauty of real love in all its chaotic color.

And it obviously backfired.  She used everything against me, positioning herself to be the "counselor" for Kristine and I.  She had the audacity to imagine that she held the keys to a perfect marriage.  I knew her keys and they were fake.  They only worked as long as it meant she was the one being worshiped.  If not, they were not keys at all, but firebrands to be thrown in the eyes of her enemies - which happened to be her little children.]

So sweet was the attention from your daughters.

[Mama.  They hated going to your house!  They were miserable!  They gave you attention so they could get you to give them more toys!  And you blew it.]

Hugs and kisses and love, 
Mama :)
Some days, I hate myself for subjecting Kristine and my children to her antics. 

1 comment:

  1. She sounds so disturbingly like my MIL before the grandkids came along, it gives me the heebie jeebies. My FIL avoided the home at all costs though by working whenever he wasn't sleeping. Maybe that's why she kept locking the kids out instead. Now she acts like she was their rock and refuge.