Tag Archives: labels

Life Wife

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I’ve been thinking a lot about being a “second wife.”  Personally, I really don’t view myself in this manner.  I like to think of myself as a “life wife.”  After all, we are in this thing together for life.

Eliza used to remind me that she was married to him first as if that made her the winner of some contest that I didn’t know I had entered.  I have no idea why, as I have never had a problem acknowledging that fact that she is his former spouse.

At the inception of our relationship, she had attempted to get me fired from my job several times.  Once she went as far as going down to the superintendent’s office to air her grievances.   When Eliza soon realized that the school administration would not get involved in her personal vendetta against me she grew irate. My boss finally cautioned Eliza that she was trespassing on school grounds.  She also advised her to leave us alone and move on with her life.  She responded that my husband would never really belong to me because she had him first!  I was truly astonished by her immaturity.

I don’t see the glory in being involved in a failed marriage.  True, it is a fact of life but not much to brag about.  The best thing that came out of that particular union are the kids.  That’s it.

At the last court date, Eliza must have gotten tired of hearing the judge refer to me as “his wife.”  She quickly switched from calling him by his first name to “my ex-husband.”  Well, your Honor, my exhusband…My ex-husband said…When my exhusbandI asked my exhusband…we both found this peculiar considering how much she detests him.  Why would she want to lay any kind of claim to him–past or present?    This was my first time hearing her use the term.  Again, she simply threw it about as a reminder to everyone that she was “The First.”  But I think she failed to take into account that the husband she had is not the one I have.  It is afterall, his second time around.  His experience with her has helped him be a better husband to me. 

In our society we are consumed with being number one.  Everyone remembers the first man to walk on the moon, as well as we know that Martha Washington was the first First lady.  Don’t forget that must people want to fly first class.  We live for firsts because we are such a competitive society that second place just won’t do.  I mean look at the world of sports today. It’s only about the title.  But I can say that this is one situation in which being second is the best.

Watch What You Say

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My MIL strongly believes that people are capable of speaking things into existence, both good and bad.  Case in point:  My husband and I once had a pet name for Eliza.  We used to refer to her as “Crazy.”   I don’t think it is necessary for me to explain how she was christened with this.  However, we don’t call her this any more now that Ethan and Evan live with us.  We don’t want them to hear their mom being spoken of in a derogatory manner.

One day while talking on the phone with his mom about Eliza’s growing paranoia, he slipped and called her “Crazy.”  His mom, a devoutly religious woman was appalled.  She quickly reprimanded him for the wording. 

Even though she has experienced first hand how hostile Eliza can be; she stills feels that she should be regarded with dignity.  When my husband’s father died, his mom made the trip from Michigan to attend the funeral.  During this time Eliza and my one day in-the-future husband were separated.  She would not allow the kids to attend the funeral.  My MIL rarely came to town and was therefore eager to see her grandchildren.  She contacted Eliza to seek permission.  Eliza would not accept the calls.  Finally my MIL and SIL went to Eliza’s house.  After reasoning and praying with her for over an hour, Eliza finally relented.

My MIL shared this story with me several years ago.  She spoke about the wrath in Eliza’s speech and heart.  She too admitted that she thought Eliza had some mental issues.  However, she remains firm that if we speak of her in respectful terms and have loving thoughts about her that she will somehow receive these warm thoughts and act accordingly.  I might have to give this a try!

We tend to label a lot of things with this word.  We use it to describe people (She is so crazy!), places (They live in a crazy house!), actions (That was a crazy thing to do!), situations (I’m in a crazy predicament.), and things in which we don’t understand (I can’t even explain it–it was just crazy!).  In today’s time “crazy” is an expression of the hip.  Hence the title of TLC’s CD “Crazy, Sexy, Cool”  or Brian McKnight’s “Crazy Love”  or Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” and I can’t forget Musiq’s “Half Crazy” and what about comedian Martin Lawrence’s popular catch phrase “You so crazy!”  Anyone wanna play a round of Crazy 8’s (I’m sure Evan does)?  Isn’t it “crazy” how this word can describe both good and bad?   My students use it frequently due to their limited vocabulary (Why we gotta take a test over MacBeth–that play was just crazy! or Mr. Lang act like he crazy!) It is a term we use so loosely with little regard to whether it is actually fitting or not.

Reluctantly I have must say that my MIL might have a point.  Crazy is too simple of a term to bestow upon Eliza.  So called “crazy”people (mentally ill) can actually seek treatments allowing them to have a relatively normal life unless in the most extreme cases.  Furthermore, I would be offended if I suffered from a mental illness and was referred to as crazy.  At this point I think “unhealthy” describes Eliza more accurately.   Unhealthy people won’t even admit that they have a problem.  She hasn’t been diagnosed with anything to my knowledge.  But I have to admit that “Unhealthy” doesn’t have the same ring as “Crazy!”  Please forgive me for this crazy post!