February 27, 2011

A Door Wreath for Lucille

I'm not sure how we got on the conversation, but a couple weeks ago, I asked Beau if his Mother still had that same wreath that I had made her three years ago.  He said yes, and it was quite sad looking.  I told him the next time I was in Hobby Lobby and they had floral on 50% off,  I would pick up the makings and create a new wreath.

Well, made a quick stop at Hobby Lobby yesterday to pick up a bag of plastic pellets.   I promised I'd only be 10 minutes (Beau is not a Hobby Lobby fan and is waiting in the car).   And, of course, floral was on 50% off, so my 10 minutes turned into 20 while I grabbed up wreath makings.

I've been knowing MIL for 20 years now.  I learned that she was two-faced very early in our relationship.  We took her to a Mardi Gras parade and she saw people she knew.   She went over to them, hugged,  kissed and spent a good 30 minutes talking with them.   When she came back, the only comment she had was how fat and ugly one of the ladies was. 

It's been like this through the years.  With the exception of one son, someone in the family was always 'IT'; the one not in favor.   For their designated time,  very ugly things were said about 'IT'. Some might say she is elderly and  but she knew what she was doing as she'd frequently follow up with the standard 'Don't tell anyone I said that'.  

After Katrina, she came to live with us for 4 months while her neighborhood rebuilt / repopulated.  Two years later she fell to great arthretic pain and needed help bathing and dressing, doctors appointments and such; staying with us a couple more months. It was during this time, that we stopped allowing her to talk bad about others.   It was a slow process.  She'd say something ugly about 'IT' and we would disagree with her, reinforcing how much we liked 'IT', etc. etc. etc.    She didn't like this much.

She moved to assisted living in 2009, a great move for her in that it gave her companionship.   She now had a group of ladies who, over lunch and afternoon coffee, could designate their IT's and tear them apart as group activity.   We continued to see her regularly.  We would pick her up every Thursday, take her to the grocery, then bring her to our home for dinner. 

It was here, dinner, that my final stand took place.   We were talking about the items left in her house and she indicated that she didn't care what happened to them; throw them out for all she cared.   I asked her if we could have one of the couches (for our son's apartment) and she said No.   At this moment, I realized We, or perhaps just Me, had been IT for sometime.   By having her over weekly, we continued giving her new material.   We weren't the ones who took her in, cared for her, entertained her, developed faithful routines involving her.  And yet, we were the ones she talked ugly about to the rest of the family and her friends. 

I was deeply hurt.  I told her how I felt.  Beau took her home.   After that, all the routines stopped.   I waited for months for an apology.   And, then, one day, I didn't care anymore that I would be her forever 'IT'.

 (Uh oh, looks like the camera finally bit the dust)

I suppose I volunteered to make the wreath as I am sorry that Beau has to go and visit her weekly alone.  In retrospect, I hope she doesn't think it is a peace offering.   

I hope I don't volunteer to do this again.

1 comment:

jane p said...

Ok, I don't get wreaths. Is it an American tradition? I had a friend who married an American, went to live in Florida and promptly bought a wreath for her door. As for MIL, in Chinese culture, DIL are the designated "IT". For me, worse case - my MIL tried to starve me (long story) after I gave birth. I have a friend who has to handwash her MIL's underwear. Poor thing. So you're not alone.