Guest Author - Cathy Brownfield
The chain is as strong as its weakest link. How strong is your chain?
“You need to set examples for the children,” Mimi said to her husband.
“Why do I have to set examples?” he objected. “The kids are all grown up now.”
“Wisdom comes with age, Ted. What about the grandchildren? What about living your values?”
“I just don’t think I should be punished because Joe can’t handle his liquor. I know when to quit.”
“If you care about him it shouldn’t be a problem not to drink when he’s around. You know alcohol is poison for him. You should want to be a part of his support system and his success at overcoming his alcohol problem.”
She felt like she was wasting her breath and her words and her time. He didn’t listen to a thing she said. About anything. There wasn’t much point in even talking to him about anything of importance.
It hadn’t always been this way. She kept blaming Ted’s dad. The man had stopped working when he was in his fifties and his mother had gone to work every day. When she had walked in the door on payday, the old man had taken her pay right out of her hand. As if. She’d made it clear to Ted that she wasn’t going there. Except that she paid the bills from her paycheck so Ted could have money in his wallet, and wasn’t it just an adaptation of the same thing? Except that it had proved that she could take care of herself if she had to, needed to…wanted to.
They couldn’t accomplish anything if they were pulling in opposite directions, but he couldn’t see that because he didn’t want to see it. He wanted his peaceful, quiet, SILENT little world. He didn’t care about anything or anyone but himself.
So, the issues that weakened their chain included communication, attitudes, money, control, and oppression of patriarchy. IT wasn’t that Mimi wanted to control everyone, as Ted had accused her of doing. It was that she wanted everyone to be responsible for themselves, their actions and their consequences.. She wanted Ted to be respected by their children, their neighbors, their families and the community. It was that she wanted to be respected, not pitied. It was all about the strength of their chain, the strength and endurance of their family, their resilience and the lessons they taught their children, their grandchildren, and anyone else who was watching them. A chain is as strong as its weakest link and advancing age is no excuse for being irresponsible.