It's a blurry Friday morning.
Last night I accompanied three songwriters at a local restaurant.
It was good; I played well.
My wife reluctantly came along,
and found the conversation of new good friends
and stimulating new music to be a tonic.
We didn't get home until after midnight,
and the alarm awoke me at 6:00 a.m.
Here I sit at my computer with my second cup of coffee
steaming by my side,
promising to jolt me into consciousness
sufficient to make it through the day.
I have an appointment this morning at 10:00
with my therapist to discuss the issue with my daughter, son-in-law
and my wife.
The question is whether or not to respond to my daughter's email
and if so, how.
I drafted an angry, self-righteous reply
that satisfied my and my wife's need
to express our indignation and disrespect we feel from them.
My daughter's email gave away her little secret.
Her husband had picked out those disrespectful gifts;
she hadn't put a second of thought
into picking out a gift or a card
for her dad's 60th birthday.
She crowed about how her husband
waded through 5000 pictures
to print out the best ones to send me.
Then emphasized that he would never apologize
because "it's too far in the past"
and I should consider the summer 2004 incident "water under the bridge."
She forgets about how her husband disrespectfully taunted me then
after ordering us out of his house upon his return
after the restraining order expired.
He mockingly said as I was packing up our things,
"You seem to be having trouble, old man"
along with many other disrespectful things
said right in front of my grandchildren.
Now I learn that he was the one
who picked out the "Old Dude" hat and the dead frog coffee mug
as "presents" for my birthday.
She thinks that bygones should be bygones,
but she forgets that he still carries a grudge
over my making them move out of my mom's house in late 1997
after I decided to sell it in order to move to Nashville.
They couldn't even pay me enough to cover the taxes on the property,
yet they felt like they had a right to stay there indefinitely.
(Mom died in late 1996.)
Now I must deal with my wife's emotions in addition to my own.
Her feelings of neglect and victimization,
memories of me not standing up for her
by not standing up to my son-in-law in 2004
when I knew that to do so would only provoke a fight.
I knew my best option was to stay silent
and let him rage.
Now in the face of this self-serving letter from my daughter,
I must once again weigh the pros and cons.
Whether to reply full of anger and indignation
or remain silent,
and allow my silence to register my refusal
to buy into my daughter's fantasy world
or legitimize her husband's continued disrespect
toward me and my wife.