(Funsanity - thanks Teri for the fab new word!)
As you all know I live on the farm where my Beloved was born and raised. It’s been a challenge for me, a city girl, to adapt to farm life. I’m not a huge fan of things that make me say, “Ewww!” The first time I saw my BIL with his arm stuck up inside a cow (he was helping the cow to give birth) I almost puked. Had it been my Beloved’s arm, I think I would have broken off our engagement.
Many years have passed since that squishy moment (which is forever burned into my mind) and I’ve taken part in castrating calves, digging a cow out of a mud hole, and dragging half dead calves up a hill, under a fence and loading the poor dying things into the bed of a pick-up. I know you are asking why I didn’t just pick the darlin’ little thing up. You’ll need to remember that calves weigh around 200 pounds so they aren’t so little after all. I’ve repaired fences, cut trees of the fence line during more storms than I care to remember, and faced down more than my share of bulls who escaped. All these charming events have taken place while Beloved was gleefully working at his j.o.b. leaving his darling mother and me to fend for ourselves.
Which brings me to the other “man” in the family; my FIL…
I once told my dear MIL that she better not die first and leave me with that man She laughed. Then she up and died on me. He’s not a nice man. Unless you meet him at church, then you’ll think he’s a peach. “What a nice man,” I’m often told by ladies who feel sooooo sorry for him because, “He’s all alone. Poor man.” There is seriously nothing left of my tongue. I’ve chewed it off trying to keep myself from telling the ugly truth.
After last month’s snowfabulous time with more FIL time than you can shake a stick at, I’m kinda done with the old man. I know, I know, I know, that’s not very nice. I know. Okay? But really, I’m just tired of the baloney. I’m tired of the ranting and the railing. I’m tired of being taken advantage of. I guess I’m just tired.
What pains me about this is I’m supposed to be a better person than this. I became a Christian at the age of twenty-five and in all these years I feel like I’ve made next to NO progress in the live and let live arena. Why is this so hard? Shouldn’t I be able to turn the other cheek, instead of rolling my eyes and hiding in my bedroom when he comes in and plants his body in my living room? Why can’t I tune out his constant complaining and negative attitude? Why can’t I just let it go?
I think the reason this issue is in the forefront of my thoughts right now is because I am re-reading my favorite book, Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. It’s an old book. Really old. Like 1839 old. The main character battles with her FIL who her husband moved into their home shortly after their wedding. Ouch.
The struggles the main character faces are so similar to mine. She desires to be a good daughter to the bitter, melancholy old man and in some ways she succeeds. Other times she wishes, in the very depths of her mind, that the old man would leave, so that she and her family could live in peace. That’s awful isn’t it? I can say it’s awful because I’ve had those exact same longings. The difference between the fictional character in the book and myself is that she improves, every so slowly. I do not.
I know what you’re thinking, “So, move? What’s keeping you there anyway?”
To be blunt, he is keeping us here. How can we leave him alone? I couldn’t live with myself if something happened to him and there was no one here. Beloved’s siblings fled this sinking ship after the death of their mother. They seldom visit and we don’t blame them. Yet, sometime I think it would be nice if the burden was shared. Sometimes, the weight of the situation presses down on me until I think my head will explode.
Please don’t think I’m some noble, sacrificing creature. I assure I am not. I could fill a bookshelf with my own grumbling and complaining. In more ways than I’d like to admit, I am like FIL. Perhaps that is the lesson I’m supposed to be learning here. Either that or I require prescription therapy.