I am an adult- I am dangerously close to the age that young children might even consider ‘old’. As far as my in-laws are concerned, I am a child. A child in need of training. A child with no hope of making the grade. A child they keep hoping they can 'save'. They have managed to make me feel inadequate for over 22 years. Always undermining. Always handing out unsolicited religious books. Always subscribing our children to Catholic children magazines, even when asked to stop.
When Lad was around 5, Coach made plans to drive out to visit his sister. One of her kids was going to make his First Holy Communion. Coach’s mom was not going to go because it was an 8 hour drive. His parents are wealthy. Do not ask me to explain why they didn’t fork over the dough for airfare to fly from Chicago to Kansas City. The best explanation I can give: it has something to do with the fact that religious celebrations should never be too over the top. The focus should be more about prayer than party. Whether she is there or not, she would be praying. That should be enough. (I still don’t get this, but they have skipped many baptisms, etc. because of travel expenses. No comprendo).
My mother-in-law, who we will call Sainty, was going to drive with Coach to Kansas City, so she could be there for the Communion. I was staying home with a new baby or a big pregnant belly or some other welcome excuse. I was happy to miss a chance to hang out with a sister-in-law who likes to give people instruction.
When our kids were tiny, she once visited our home and laughed at the three different kinds of milk in the fridge. She made the following statement out loud. I find it strange because it might be one of those things that you think, but don’t say. I wanted to inform her: ‘Oops, did you know we can hear you?’ OK, it wasn’t really that offensive, but it gives you an idea of her authority on most things.
|Who would buy three different varieties of milk?|
I must be crazy.
She is following in her mom’s footsteps sending out occasional ‘faith focused’ emails or Facebook posts. If you didn’t know that she is better than you are, not to worry. She comes dangerously close to telling you that she is. She is also the only person who regularly tries to figure out how much moo-la I pull in as a babysitter. Totally odd. She and her husband have so much money they aren’t sure what far away religious shrine they should visit next, so why the fixation on how much I earn? My guess: since she thinks she knows everything, she has a hard time with information being ‘out there’ that she doesn't have a handle on.
Anyway, Sainty came to sleep over at our house the night before the road trip like 14 years ago, because Coach was going to leave crazy early in the morning. I remember it like it was yesterday. My little boys were going with Coach to Kansas City to hang out with their cousins. I called Laddie over and handed him a book. ‘I got you this book to look at in the car. I think you can read some of the words in it. It has your name in it. It is called ‘Laddie the Lizard’. (OK that isn’t the name of the book, but you get the idea).
Sainty literally boxed me out and leaned closer to Laddie’s face. ‘Oh Laddie, I want you to know that there is ANOTHER book with your name in it.’ Laddie got very excited. ‘It is the Bible,’ she breathed the words like she had just spoken magic.
Laddie just looked at her deadpan and said, ‘Oh, I already knew that.’ Then he turned back to me and expressed more excitement about his new, non-denominational book. (Obviously there is not a character in the Bible named Laddie, but Laddie’s real name IS found in the Bible).
Never did I want to squeeze my kid more than I did at that moment. His stock rose a bit that day and I intend to leave more to him in my will (despite his college years infractions) for that ‘Duh-my-parents-already-taught-me-that’ moment. You tell her, Lad. You let her know that despite what she thinks your mom and dad ‘got this.’
Damn it. (Couldn't resist)
Damn it. (Couldn't resist)