Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Loyal Order of Water Buffalos

Brian made his return to the lodge last night (he is a freemason). There was a family night, which I frankly can't stand attending. Tons of people show up and eat, then the menfolk go off to their secret meeting and the other womenfolk quickly disperse and head for home, leaving a very dirty kitchen. In the past I have gotten off work and arrived there just in time to eat the cold plate of leftovers that someone made up for me and then wash dishes and clean for another hour. Last night I had already decided I would not be cleaning up. I only went because Brian took Jacelyn and my mother-in-law, and both needed a ride home.

I got there and ate (attempting to comment quietly to Brian about how terrible the green beans were, only to discover that he made them - oops), smiled at the comments ("Oh, look, she swallowed a watermelon!") and tried to ignore the 'you-da-man' props the other men gave Brian upon discovering that I was pregnant, and with a boy no less. Lots of back patting and hand shaking and winking and whatnot. Silly boys.

One of the other masons has a young daughter, I think she is 18 or 19. At one such family night when Jacelyn was smaller she brought a friend with her, at proceeded to make me feel like crap when she literally pointed at me and said out loud in a normal tone of voice, "She was pregnant when she got married". I mean, so what, and all, but it wasn't the most polite thing to do. Last night I she walked over to me sporting a baby bump that rivaled my own. She is due a couple of weeks after me. She hasn't finished high school, she isn't married, and she broke up with the baby's father and, in her own words, "...kicked him out. That is my mother and father's house, and he's not going to be living there with me with that attitude". Sigh. Poor thing.

I ate, got my mother-in-law and daughter and we were out of there. Brian didn't come home until almost 10:00pm, and announced that the members asked him to be "master" next year. I just sighed. What do I say? I mean, it's his family tradition - the men in his family are masons going back generations and generations. And then there's the Catholic aspect of it, which I am still not 100% clear on (the Catholic church has denounced masonry for literally hundreds of years). And when I tentatively and carefully brought that up one day he waved it off. There are men in his lodge who are also Knights of Columbus. I don't understand the church's position on it entirely, but it nags at me a little.

To be "master" requires a lot of time. He already works ten hour days. You add in the half hour commute each way and that is eleven hours out of the house already, just with work. The lodge has two scheduled meetings per month, plus whatever other degrees, important visitors, visits to other lodges, etc.. I tried to gently remind him that he already works so much, and has a daughter who loves and misses him, and will shortly have a infant son, and that's not to mention his lovely wife, who will be frazzled trying to take care of a kindergartner and an infant, maintain a household, and work part time. He accepted the position, anyway. Sigh. So starting in the end of December he will be installed. I am fairly certain he is only doing this at his father's urging, and I don't know what to do about it.

I tried bringing it up with his mother last night, being very careful about how and what I said, but that didn't do any good. She has a very Wilma Flintstone attitude about the whole thing. My father-in-law is literally gone five or six nights out of the week to some lodge or another, and she complains occasionally, but her thoughts on the subject are as long as he takes her out shopping on the weekend, buys her dinner and gives her money, she's OK with it. I'm not OK with that. He can't buy our daughter off - there is no toy, no matter how fabulous, that will replace his role in her life. He needs to bond with his new son. And I certainly cannot be bought.

We will have to see how it goes. Maybe it won't be as bad as it seems right now. He was master once before, and he was busy, but I think his work schedule will limit some of his activities. I don't want him to burn out, either. We shall see!

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