The very first time that I met my now-husband’s parents, so I didn’t understand what to expect. Steve hadn’t dated anyone seriously in high school, and so that I was the very first person he’d”brought home” to fulfill his mother and dad if we were in school.
Initially, I didn’t pick up on any negativity from Steve’s mom. I hugged her the first time we met (although I realize now she was probably just extending her arm for a handshake or to select the ornament I introduced as a Christmas gift). The visit quickly became awkward, though, as were the upcoming few occasions I went to Steve’s parents’ house. Soon after my birth for one visit early in his relationship, Steve’s mother asked him to wash her car, because he does much more careful job than a car wash. It took the whole day. At the time, I believed it was a power transfer – which she had purposely requested him to take action that day so we would not have enough time to spend together. He was spending with her after I left, so did the auto need to be washed during my single weekend ?
However, I tried not to overreact and did my best to make a good impression on Steve’s family. I attempted to begin conversations at the dinner tableif his mother wasn’t interested in talking to me personally. I played games with his mother and brotherwhen his mother used a Taboo clue to complain at length on her coworker, rather than trying to actually play the game. I wasn’t getting much in return through any of our interactions, however I understood this was a connection to navigate carefully as Steve and I became even much more serious.
I recognize that his mom and I are the two most important women in his life, and there has to be room for both of us.
From the time we have engaged a few decades after, I knew things weren’t going to change with the woman who’d become my mother-in-law. My parents were thrilled regarding the engagement and welcomed Steve into our family. Steve’s parents had been divorced at the stage , and he explained his father had a photo of us on display next to his other photos of Steve’s married siblings. But his mom wasn’t delighted with the news. Apparently, it led to a struggle between the both of them, where she told him I had been taking him”away in the family”
After hearing this, I was not sure what to anticipate from my now-mother-in-law at my bridal shower. She offered my husband and me some amazing gifts for our own kitchen, however there was one thing she said through a bridal shower game that I will never forget. My sister had organized a Scattergories-inspired match, where guests needed to make a list of things the groom needs. The correspondence had been”E,” and also my mother-in-law wrote”escape ladder.” (She tried to say that she was not specifically speaking about Steve, but what other grooms were in question in the shower?)
A horrified hush fell over the crowd, with my mom’s friends and my loved ones exchanging a lot of anxious glances. Several of my mom’s friends came up to me afterwards, saying not to worry about it, that she would open me up as time went on. But I’d known her for years; time had already been happening. I knew at that point that she would never completely welcome me to her life. And I realized there is no point in me trying to suck up for her, either. Not everyone in your life is going to enjoy you, and sometimes you just need to take it and proceed.
My husband, naturally, does not approve of things such as the”escape ladder” comment, and he did off her after her remarks about our involvement. However, I understand that his mom and I are the two most important women in his lifetime, and there needs to be space for both of us. He usually chooses to talk to his mother when I am not current, a choice I admire, though I at least try to wish her well over the phone on major holidays. (Major holidays where we are not with family, that is – Steve and I have not spent Christmas with them, since he visits his hometown without me during the Winter vacations )
It used to make me sad that we don’t possess our own holiday customs , or that my mother-in-law and I aren’t closer. But the truth is, I expect to spend some time with my spouse the vast majority of the year, so needless to say that he should spend the holidays with his family. And whether or not I’m close with his mom doesn’t alter the connection he’s with her, or the relationship that he and I have. No families are perfect, and when the”escape ladder” remark ends up being the worst thing that occurs, at least we could laugh about it.