Erica: your inviting us to stay with you after I learned that I have blood cancer is a sweet gesture. However, both your mother and I would feel uneasy in that arrangement. We might say something to your children that conflicted with your views on child rearing or religion. We would then be cautioned to conform to the party line and then be subjected to a lecture from you or a humiliating harangue from Erin.
Erica: It would have been so much better if you had explained to us how you expected Elijah to behave when he stayed at our beach house. Even though Marie and I might not have agreed with your guidelines, we would have responsibly followed them. If we had more context, we would never have allowed any girls from church to visit Elijah. Another point: We didn’t send Elijah back right away because we were waiting for your response after I told Erin that your mother and I were quite competent to handle Elijah on our own once we knew the boundaries. And when you called the next day, insisting that Elijah come home that day, Marie made the plane reservations immediately, even though she had initially called your abrupt decision to send Elijah home “stupid.” Regardless of our liberal views, we can be trusted to discipline any grandchild; for instance, Marie spanked Nick when he and Autumn spent a month in Hawaii, despite her distaste for corporal punishment.
In relation to Macy a while back, you have shown the same disregard for Marie. During a phone call, you indicated that you did not appreciate Macy confiding in Marie, and once your mother began to give you some advice about Macy, you summarily said that you didn’t want any input: you merely wanted to convey information about Macy. What a putdown!
Erin: When we had our tete-a-tete about Elijah, one of the reasons you gave for not trusting us with Elijah was that Marie was overly emotional. At times, that might well be true. But what about you? A couple of years ago, What was your reaction when you heard Marie asking Blake if it were appropriate for him to discuss with the youth group the miracle in which Jesus allegedly transferred demons from an afflicted person to the pigs? You went ballistic, loudly proclaiming that the Bible was inerrant, and that Marie was a poor benighted soul. Your lengthy tirade was scary. It was the first time that I had felt the brunt of it. You demonstrated how little respect you have for Marie, and it was hurtful. For that outburst, you never apologized.
Yes, you did apologize for screaming at Marie a while ago during your phone conversation with her about the Elijah brouhaha at the beach. But again, it shows that you need to temper your righteous indignation.
You are sweet to us most of the time. But when you get wound up, you are menacing.
After the Elijah incident, you have punished us as if we were wayward children: we cannot vacation with our grandkids unless you are within striking distance from us. We are saddened that you no longer trust us, unless you are fairly close by to rescue them from our irresponsible clutches. So instead of traveling with Elijah and Macy , for their sixteenth birthday, we gave them each one-thousand dollars.
Erica: About the summer. Again, we feel that you have disrespected us. When your kids become 9 years old, either Marie or both of us have arranged for them come to Hawaii for a month. Even though Shila is not yet at that age, Ahava is. Their being together would offset any homesickness that Shila might have. Regardless, you have decided that the girls can come to Hawaii for only two weeks and that you will stay near enough to wrest them away from us if we commit any faux pas. How insulting to us.
This letter should prove that we are aggrieved, but not passive aggressive. Neither are we addled or decrepit at least not yet.