Posted by: Kate | July 28, 2008

As Grudgeville Fades into the Distance, Rageborough Looms

So, my mother-in-law just called to wish Jacob a happy birthday.

His birthday isn’t until tomorrow.

She immediately threw a guilt trip at Willem for not calling to inform her about the party.

Somehow my family knew about it.
Something about them calling and asking; it’s a complicated procedure.

She told Willem, “You know I would have come to the party.”

Except that she skipped it last year, too.

She told Willem that it was OK that she had the wrong day for Jacob’s birthday, because “at least I’m not late.”

These calendars, they’re high-tech innovations.
One can’t expect a grown woman to be able to use them without assistance.

She started to cry.

Your tears do not undo your inadequacies.
Just because you feel bad now – or act like you do – does not erase the actions (or lack thereof).

She also sent balloons.

I. Hate. Balloons.

The balloons came attached to a ceramic mug.

For a (nearly) four-year-old.
You know, because he just can’t start the day without his coffee.

I’ll work my way around to angry at some point soon. Right now my heart just hurts, because my husband deserves a better mother and my kids deserve a better grandma.

I’m doubly grateful, now, that my mom made the trip out.
That she remembered.
That she tries.
That she cares.



  1. I’m not sure how to respond to this without using foul language. She KNOWS you hate balloons (my personal credo is “Nothing says I love you like Mylar…right?”) so I’m right there with you. What better thing to do than send something (1) inappropriate for a 4-year-old and (2) that she knows you despise, all in order to look like she remembered? It’s the ultimate “screw you”, Kate. Gaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

  2. Aaargh. I don’t know. I used to hang out on the in-laws board over at and that was interesting.

  3. Burn Beelzebub, Burn.

    What a wicked, wicked woman. Too bad there isn’t a delete button for people…

  4. I believe the term is “what a waste.”
    She is the one missing out, Kate. Lots of kids grow up with one (or no) grandparent. The only person who really loses in this equation is her, because honestly, would you really want the kids exposed to her bizarre passive-aggressive bullshit? I don’t think so. Consider her absence a bigger gift than any she could deliberately choose to give.
    It is SO her loss.

  5. She sounds like a total neuropuss to me! Balloons AGAIN . . .as for the mug, at least tell me it had a picture of Spongebob Squarepants on it!

  6. I’m with the rest. When they KNOW you hate it? It is a finger in the face. A passive-aggressive finger, but a finger none the less.

    Every child-centric holiday is marked in my house by a “Well, it’s just a little something,” followed by my saying sweetly, “Well, you know us – as long as it’s not BATTERY-OPERATED…” followed by “Oh, well, I’m sure the battery’s INCLUDED with it.” As if it were just that we’re way too cheap to buy batteries, you know.

    I feel your pain. And your rage. Breathe deep. Melanie says it well.

  7. Hmm…maybe you could set her up with Perfect J for a passive-aggressive playdate.

  8. I think your MIL & my MIL need to go on a retreat together…they deserve each other. Your kids will do better without learning the passive agressiveness she tends to throw out there and the favoritism is way ridiculous but my MIL is full of it too. We had the only girl and she tried o pull the samething – however hubby nipped that right away.

  9. I’m there with you on the balloons. And a ceramic mug? You are serious. Poor kid – maybe you can tell him its his own special cocoa mug.

  10. Wow, that so sucks. I’m sorry! And nothing tell a four-year-old happy birthday like a big ol’ mug!

  11. You could always return the favor and send her Just for Men mustache dye or something equally inappropriate to match the mug, Centrum Senior Vitamins and Depend Undergarments XXXL size a week prior to her birthday to ensure she enjoyed a birthday (early!) with the same feeling she forced you to enjoy the little one’s.

    Nothing says Happy Birthday you hurtful b*tch, right back at you and your cup o balloons, like a Depend Undergarment (and make sure those babies are huge!!)

  12. parents can suck. we wish they didn’t but they do sometimes. but hopefully all the good that we try to surround ourselves with makes up for that. fingers crossed it works out that way for all of us!

  13. mother in laws are doubt about it!

  14. […] despite the phone call and balloons of Monday, she never did end up actually speaking to Jacob on his birthday.  She called twice, […]

  15. Okay I ony find this funny because Jacob and Ayden share the same birthday and on the 28th we both received phone calls from mother in laws (mine being ex), both to wish the boy Happy Birthday a day early.

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