Saturday, December 17, 2005

Round Two--Update

Lance had lunch with Thing One yesterday in an attempt to settle things. It did not go well, and Lance left before the bill came. When he got back to the office, he sent him this:


Sorry for being late. And sorry for bailing on the bill. You have become an extremely deflective and elusive person to communicate with. The conversations I've attempted to have with you and your wife recently have been the most frustrating ever. I am not sure what to do or say at this point...............

And Thing One responded with this charming missive*:

Not to worry. Hope you feel better. Happy to wait a half hour to buy you lunch again and hear about your perceptive take on my wife's and my faults. I'm trying very hard to stick to my no email policy but listening to you unload is more than I can let go quietly. If I didn't edit myself, you would really love the list of reasons that I find your accusation of us being self centered and demanding so ironic and humurous. However, I think you already know this and I also think that your knowledge of this fact is the main source of your frustration. I've told you numerous times and I will say it again. We completely support and understand your relationship with mom and dad and we absolutely endorse it without strings attached. I think it is wonderful that Amy is willing and able to share so much of your children's lives with mom. As we all used to agree, it takes much of the burdon off of Mark, Margaret, Marisa and me. Not that mom will want or receive the time of day from our children should things remain the way they are now. We have a separate issue with mom that has nothing to do with you. You guys should have no concerns regarding how we live our lives. We certainly are not spending any time worrying about how you live yours. Don't mistake that for lack of interest. It is only that we do not sit around and make judgements about you. We do not have the time, nor are we inclined to disparage and/or compete with our family. I'm sorry you all feel so certain that is not the case.

Please try to understand that we are not the least bit upset with any of you nor are we the slightest bit frustrated. We got over it a while back and we find it extremely unneccessary for you to be trying to rev things up again. It would be nice to see the family operate on a reasonably functional level without any pettiness, manipulation, power plays or lack of self confidence. I was going to fake reaching that point by diassociating myself largely from interactions with the disfunction. You seem unwilling to accept that. However, you also don't present any other reasonable solution. The current situation is embarrassing (another reason I avoid the three of you) and about as far from what Papa T would have wanted as possible. That is truly sad. I suggested to mom that all we want is her unbiased pride in her children and her unconditional love, without judgement or opinion (unless requested: doubtful). How is that an unreasonable or difficult request of one's own mother? In fact, I think eveyone could be much happier if we all held to this standard.

Please try to get over June 20 or at least find some additional fresher dirt. You've got to admit that 6 months is getting a little stale. Though I was thoroughly amazed by your ability to keep a straight, self righteous and indignant face as you suggested that my calling mom out on her "bullshit" was going to taint your childrens' virgin ears. That was truly remarkable and I enjoyed it much more than I conveyed. You're right, Marisa and I pose the threat of potentially ruinous negative influence on the kids. Maybe you should stick with mom and pursue the status quo.

I love that you found me elusive. I've been seeking that quality for some time. It's called a poker face and it is very good for negotiating. I've been accused of having mom's trait of being unable to keep my mouth shut (see paragraph 3 above) and I'm working hard to get rid of it. Thank you for the compliment.

Can't wait to see you both on Sunday. Mom says she is looking forward to the opportunity to start fresh. You don't want to miss out on that do you?

For better or worse,

Your brother :-)

Sunday there is a large family Christmas party at my mother-in-law's home. Lance's older brother and his wife have flown in from Virginia to attend. Thing One and Thing Two will be there.

I'm really looking forward to it, as you might imagine.

*The email was sent at 7:21 pm, but he cc'd his father, his older brother and wife, and Lance at their work emails. He did not cc his mother.

Update: I know, I owe everyone an update. The party was fine, and awful. There were many people there, which made it easy enough to avoid Thing One and Thing Two. I had to say hello and endure a hug from Thing One, but I tried to make my "Oh, wonderful to see you, too, Brad. As always" as sarcastic as possible. I managed to avoid Queen Bitchiness* the whole evening, thankfully, and only had to swoop in and direct my children away from her once. Lance had to say hello to both of them but that was the extent of it. We both enjoyed ourselves with the other members of the family.

And still, it sucks balls. It's not exactly fun, avoiding people. It's not exactly cheerful, wanting to punch someone in the face. It's not exactly heartening, knowing that your own flesh and blood goes out of his way to say and do hurtful things to you, for no reason. Those two will never apologize, will never treat Lance and my mother-in-law with love or respect, and there is nothing I can do about it.

*Lance thinks it does a disservice to Dr. Seuss to use his terms for my in-laws, and I tend to agree. So I may come up with some new ones. Like--Spineless and Mrs. Wench. Or something.

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