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Sue to Mark 5

Saturday, April 19

Dear Mark:

     I am home. It was quite a good trip. Lots of bonding between teachers, kids and parents, lots of learning, sun, fun and food. I am pleasantly tired. I have a cleaning lady come twice a month and she was here while I was gone, so the house is clean. I've got several loads of laundry going and although there's nothing but pasta and green beans in the house, I'm going to indulge in a computer chat with you -- which is just what I want to do right now.

     I thought of you on the trip as some of the moms and I talked about their husbands at home with the kids. Women are sometimes monstrously condescending about how their husbands "function" without them. (TV dinners or McDonalds, etc.) I know Mr. Mom is not a natural state for men. In addition to your loss, you have had to change in a fundamental way (or maybe you were a natural house-husband before Glenda's death . . . I do know some men like that - my sister's husband vacuums for relaxation! He comes home from work and reorganizes his daughters' closet. Really!) But I know the transition was easier for me simply because I didn't have to assume any new roles (I have had to take over the finances and all the decision-making, of course, but those were minor in comparison). I respect the effort, commitment and perseverance it takes to do what you are doing. (I've just re-read this paragraph . . . please read it as it's intended: genuine encouragement. Some might see reverse sexism here. I hope you don't.)

     You wish you had some cheap amusement, you said. Something to really feel joy about. I will share my secret with you. It is something that works well for me. I can't guarantee it will do the same for you - but I bet it will because it is what your life is about. When I saw your paintings, I felt that they were about identifying some inner life of the subject, some abstract and ineffable truth living in form and color. It is the essence of Divine creativity which we can only "see in a mirror darkly", but art is one way to catch a shadowy reflection of it . . . what I'm talking about is beauty. 

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