my little sister called me in tears this week, asking for advice on how to deal with our mother - otherwise known to me and my siblings as Mater Maxima, especially in my sister's universe.
without going into all the gory details, it involves my youngest brother - the one with Down's - long-ago promises, money, wills, and a new house - all of which are potentially inflammatory subjects taken one by one. combine them all, add Mater Maxima to the mix, and you have the potential to create enough poisonous fall out to engender a nuclear winter for at least a generation or two.
but those are only the surface issues, the peripheral issues, believe it or not. in talking to her about the situation, i very quickly determined that the trouble was not really about how to deal with The Supreme Mother, but rather, how to deal with my sister's husband.
the real issue is that my sister is married to a man who bullies her. always the peacemaker and the diplomat, my sister doesn't seem to be aware that while we can recognize her husband's many fine qualities, we can also sense a power inequity in the relationship, and we don't particularly like it. and while i personally feel that the marriage need not end completely, i believe that the issue which is creating the inequity must be addressed.
you know im hard to get along with, too, my sister told Mater Maxima.
i never found sheila hard to get along with, i said to my mother. (of course i always had the drawer to threaten her with.) no, said my mother, neither did i. (of course my favorite nickname for her is She Who Must Be Obeyed)
nan overreacted, my sister told The Supreme Mother.
no, i didn't, i said to my mother. when she says she's hard to get along with, she sounds like someone with a black eye claiming they walked into a door.
no, you didn't, my mother said to me. we agree with you. but we don't know what to do about it.
there isn't much, i said. but we can present another view of reality than the one she thinks she has to believe. we can Name what we See. especially if she asks.
and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.