Irreverent Mama

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"I recommend... walking around naked in your living room..."

"Thanks, Alanis. I'll do that." It seems that at sixteen, Emma approves of in-home naturism. "Though it would help," she muses, "if you lived alone."

"I'll say. It's happened now and then that Matthew and I will be sure we have the house to ourselves for a while, and decide to make out downstairs, and then someone will knock on the door. Last time, we had just -- just -- gotten back upstairs when Alex (her youngest stepbrother) walked right in the front door."

Emma blinks. "Alex? When was that?"

"Last weekend."

"Ew! I'm not sitting on that couch any more, ever again!"

Mwah-ha. Teenagers are so predictable sometimes. And what is the point of having these predictable, so-conservative bodies around if you can't push their buttons, just a bit? I grin at her.

"How do you know it was the couch? How do you know we didn't use the dining table?"

"EW! You DIDN'T!"

I let my grin grow wider.


She pauses mid-gross-out as the initial revulsion fades and a different thought strikes her. "But at least wood wipes up better than upholstery. I don't have to worry about sticking my elbow in the wet spot."

She grins back as I shout with laughter.

Yup, she's her mother's daughter.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

My step-son is getting married next fall.
At the ripe old age of twenty-one.
To the girl he's been dating since he was fifteen.
A stable sort, my step-son. A good boy man.

Their marriage will probably be fine. Two worthy, if unimaginative, sorts doing what is right and necessary day by day, with enough good will and mutual respect to keep it going in a companionable way. For years. They may not be burning up the world with passion, but they're solid, kindly, grounded.

I am dreading the wedding.

Just dreading it.

Where shall I start?

With the ex-wife's alcoholic dad? No, not likely to be a problem, since when he's in his cups he (reputably, I've never met the man) gets quiet.

Unlike the ex-wife's mother, who, when in her cups gets loud and aggressive. Usually the aggression is directed against her husband. (Hence his quiet retreat to the friendly haze of alcohol, one surmises.)

Though of course, knowing the conservative bent of the happy couple, the reception could well be dry. Where will that leave them?

With the ex-wife? Maybe. She's been known to go off the deep end at weddings, but since she's recently remarried and, so we hear, very happy, perhaps her general good feeling about life will translate to good behaviour. It may, however, translate to too much bonhomie -- barbed, of course -- directed our way. This has been known to happen, and it is not comfortable. She is a woman who, if I saw her on a bus, I'd sit as far from as possible, fearing the possibility of a loud an inappropriate conversation.

She usually delivers.

So there's that.

It could be the ex-wife's SIL, who hates, hates, hates my husband. Because he was supposed to be a failure, and he didn't fail. Instead, by her standards, she did. Unhappy marriage, stalled career, no publications, no children. And she, like all the womenfolk in her family, is loud and aggressive.

Then there's the ex-wife's brother, who, unlike his dad, gets loud and aggressive when in his cups.

There's my eldest step-daughter, who has very little control over her tongue or her temper. Less when she's drunk. Which is mostly. She also hates her dad. We're not quite sure why. Even her siblings are not sure why. Apparently, he 'ruined her life'. Her ruined life has nothing to do with the alcohol, or course, nor of her chronic abuse of her mild-mannered boyfriend. (Verbal, emotional, and physical. She's a big girl.) When she's angry, which is mostly when she's drunk (which is mostly), she is not just loud, she SCREAMS. She can be heard blocks away.

God, I hope it's a dry reception!

And all those people? The ones who like being angry, who rage and scream, make barbed comments, delight in unkindnesses small and large?

They loathe my husband, for divorcing their daughter/sister/mother. Even though it's been 15 years. Even though she's much happier now. Because they like to have someone to loathe. Pouring contempt on people is fun, fun, fun.

And me? They've never met me, but I hear, through the endlessly un-self-censored grapevine of my step-children, that they hate me. They're curious about the bitch "he" ended up with, the one who (despite the year and a half gap) "broke up" their daughter/sister's "perfectly good" marriage.

Oh, goody.

"Bracing" does not begin to describe what I'll need to get through this ordeal.


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