Sunday, August 25, 2013

where the chips fall

dear slt,

once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived a grandmother who loved her granddaughters more than anything in the world.  over a period of time, she became concerned with how her own son treated her granddaughters--losing his temper, yelling at them, sometimes so loudly and so frightfully, that her oldest granddaughter would cry so hard she would throw up.  her son would make her granddaughter sit there frozen, she dared not move, because he was so angry with her for spilliing her [grain of rice, soymilk, fill in the blank].  One time, she was at the house and her son became so infuriated with her granddaughter that he locked her in the bathroom, with the lights off, and with no windows, the room became a pitch black cell.  Her granddaughter wailed in fear, but he would not relent, until finally his wife opened the door and held their daughter, trembling and sobbing.

About this time, her daughter-in-law had become concerned with the grandmother's son's temper and the escalation of events--with the birth of their second child, she realized things were getting worse rather than better. he began to throw things, break things, stomp on toys and shatter them, the children were getting kicked, pushed, shoved, the puppy was getting thrown against the wall.  she asked the grandmother if, and only if, one day, should she and her husband not be able to overcome these anger outbursts together, if the grandmother would still allow her to bring the granddaughters to visit.  the grandmother said, 'of course!' as if it would be the easiest thing in the world...

a year later, the grandmother told the court reporter that her husband used to beat her children, and broke her wrist in fits of rage.  she said that he was hard on the children, but it wasn't a domestic violence sort of thing.  she said she was concerned with her son's temper and agreed he had trouble containing his anger.  a few months after that, she was in the hallway in the courthouse, making fun of how the soon to be ex wife said her granddaughters name.  she was whooping it up and laughing and joking, as if waiting for a concert or at a picnic, or anywhere else that was not the hallway of family court, in between witnesses testifying at trial.

the grandmother went on the stand at trial and said her son did not have an anger problem.  that he was good to his daughters and would never hurt them. because she had said the opposite just two months prior at her deposition, the her testimony was deemed not credible.

the chips fall where they fall.  my children love their grandmother with all their hearts.  this grandmother loves her son, loves her granddaughters.

someone once told me--what does love do for you in the face of anger?  love doesn't do anything to help you or protect you.  the only thing left to do is remove yourself from danger and protect your heart and little hearts, too.  i wish i had a better answer to this fairy tale.  i guess i'm just grateful that our house is free from the kind of love that comes at a price.

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