Thursday, October 2, 2008

in-law update

So, it's been a couple of weeks, and stuff has happened, so I promised an update. But first, last week I bitched that potential jobs weren't getting back to me. I have some egregious examples (sending out a press release without letting other candidates know!), but last night I got a very nice, very personal note from my contact at the science center rejecting me. So she's off the hook - she even offered to sit down with me and discuss networking. So not everyone is out to get me. Just most people. Like my in-laws.

Anyway, when last I wrote about them, my anxiety over the unknown with the in-laws was crippling me, so I asked my husband to contact them and at least tell them about the baby. Instead he found out they were going on, seemingly unconcerned that it had been nearly nine months since we last had contact.

It was nine months exactly on my daughter's birthday, September 22nd. The week prior to her birthday my in-laws vacationed in the Outer Banks, so any worries I had about them just showing up were unfounded. Instead, they sent a card, with a gift card to Gymboree. It was nice, $50, she definitely needs new fall clothes, so I certainly appreciated it. Maybe this is petty, but couldn't they send an actual, you know, present? An actual gift to say, this is a gift from your grandmother and grandfather? A gift card the day before her birthday is not exactly a tangible present, you know? But that's petty, so whatever.

What was more interesting was the PS in the card - please tell your father to send us a picture so we can see how much you've grown. We love you so, so much.

I'll admit I took a level of perverse pleasure in this. The week before I was hurt they didn't even seem to care. A little pleading at least made me feel like there was a part of them that actually did care.

My husband, on the other hand, was enraged by this. His take: Why can't they stop putting a child in the middle of this disagreement with me? He's right - after all, that's the worst part of their treatment of us all - ignoring a two-year old, telling her that her father sucks. What kind of person involves a two year old in a dispute?

So, that's the birthday. Oh, yeah, btw, no call or anything to my daughter on her birthday. Not that a three year old noticed (honestly, despite my attempts to keep them in her mind - showing her pictures, god blessing them every night, I think she's mostly forgotten who they are). It was the first card we've gotten from them that my mother-in-law has written - the others - from Valentine's Day through my birthday, were all written, addressed, and sent by my father-in-law.

My in-law's 40th wedding anniversary the week after the birthday, the 28th. On Thursday of last week, my husband gets a text from his sister - are you all coming for the anniversary dinner on the 28th?

WTF? Sure, yes, let us hope right on that. Haven't talked to them in nine months, but we'll pop right in the car and drive two hours to just show up and have a pleasant anniversary dinner with them. These people are DELUSIONAL.

On Saturday, my husband's brother calls to find out why we are not coming to the dinner. WTF. Husband learns my mother-in-law asked her daughter to ask my husband if we were coming (Note: not please come, but ARE we coming). I seriously do not understand how these people's brains work.

My husband tries once again to explain to his brother that this is not going to be swept under the rug, all is not forgiven, things have to change in how this family dynamic plays out, etc etc. Brother is having none of it. Why is my husband so stubborn, why is he hurting/punishing his parents, etc, after all the parents have done to reach out to us......(yes. He actually uses these words!). Husband cuts him off - all they've done? What the fuck have they done? They couldn't even CALL on daughter's birthday! They have done nothing.

Brother-in-law retreats at this. Husband realizes nothing is getting through, so just goes to the practical - besides, we're going to Boston, job interview, unused plane ticket vouchers that will expire, etc. Brother-in-law is relieved at this! This is an actual reason. An actual reason is ok. It makes sense. He can understand that, and can explain our absence in a way that works for everyone.

I used to think I was good at denial, but these people!

Brother in law elicits a promise from my husband he will call on anniversary.

So, that's what happened. While in Boston, she and I took a nap, and my husband went down to the bar and called his parents. Talked for about 20 minutes about nothing much of all, just a perfectly pleasant normal conversation about nothing. Weather, Boston, daughter, etc. No mention of pregnancy.

This call actually kind of bothers me, because it plays into their everything is normal worldview. But whatever. I think the next step is a letter from my husband to them. They clearly do not understand where he - we - are coming from. At least you can't ignore or outshout black and white. A letter that says what happened in December is unacceptable. That we will not be manipulated by these periodic outburst from my mother-in-law, and we will protect our daughter above all else. And that tells them about the pregnancy. And about how our family is our most important priority.

Meanwhile, we did get pictures taken around the birthday. They come in this weekend, and I will grit my teeth and write the thank you note and enclose the photos that I ordered for them. And I will do the first draft of my husband's letter to them.

I am so worn out by them, by this situation. But I'm worn out by all of it, my entire litany of issues.


Antigone said...

A self-centered lot if you ask me. At least the three of you have your distance and your daughter is young enough to not be affected.

The in-law issue is one I'll have to consider in a few months.

Mimi said...

I can see why you'll do what's right and send a thank you card, and I can even see sending a photo. Doesn't it seem to feed into this though by YOU doing the draft for hubby and then not having anything representative of the fact that you ARE involved and making efforts to be a part of this family?

I just hate the weather/Boston La-Di_Da conversations that some people have just so they don't have to talk about the elephant in the room. There's a stupid elephant in the room!!! I'm just saying that if you are part of communicating back with them then letting them know also tells them that you're not going anywhere, right?

Astarte said...

Uh, IL situations are so horrid. I mean, why does it always end up being the woman in the equation that ends up dealing with so much of it?! I think he should write his own freakin' letter, or not write it at all. I mean, they're his parents, and if he never writes, and you never see/hear from them again, so much the better. Good riddance.

CLC said...

No offense to your husband, but they sound awful. And it's like banging your head against the wall. I don't understand it. I hope a letter will get through to them.