Posted by: Kate | September 22, 2008

No Surprises There

As a follow-up to the mother-in-law saga of the other week…

She called last Sunday morning. Chatted cheerily, as though nothing awkward had ever transpired. Didn’t know what grade either of the kids was in, despite recent emails announcing precisely that information, and had no idea what Willem was doing in school.

Willem decided to let it slide on the phone, because it was just too distant and fake and uncontrollable at such a distance. He was hoping for a face-to-face conversation, which requires, you know, actually being face-to-face. So he kept it light, as well.

She whined about not having seen the kids since April. He repeated – for the third time, for those keeping score – that all she needed to do was pick a weekend, and we would plan accordingly. Once again, she refused to choose a date, instead saying, “Well, I’ve gone back to work part-time, and the schedules come out in the middle of the week. I don’t know when I’ll be working.” Fine, then, call when you get your schedule. “OK, I will call sometime this week. This week, for sure. I will call you. We’ll make plans.”

Bet you can guess whose phone never rang this week.

I’m neither surprised nor upset at her; this is what she does, over and over again. I’m sad for Willem, because he deserves a mom who treats him better than that. Less sad for the kids, because they have several other sets of loving and involved grandparents to fill in, so her absence leaves less of a gap. And I can even find it in my heart to be sad for my mother-in-law, because her choices are creating a rift between herself and her son, and I’m not sure how wide that rift can be before it is beyond repair.


  1. okay, gimme her address, and I’ll go smack her around a little have a little talk with her.

  2. okay, gimme her address, and I’ll go smack her around a little have a little talk with her.

  3. I take the opposite view–release any idea that she can be a “good” mother. Release any expectation of her following through.

    It’s a Buddhist thing–pain is inevitable, but dwelling on it only keeps the suffering alive. Let go of what you want her to be and oooh, how the peaceful relief flows in.

  4. I’m starting to think she does believe what she says. The delusion of me-ness. The blaming of you, or anyone or thing convenient. She’s taking herself where she is going. I’m glad Willem is still trying.

  5. You know, why would she call and attempt to dissolve the rift- when she’s soooo great at perpetuating it! If she set up a date to see her grandchildren, then she’d have nothing to bitch about…and that seems to really be her forte. Why take that away from her, eh?

  6. Oh yes, she needs something to gripe about-I say you get a little phone recorder and tape conversations of telling her to pick a date and her promising to call (stick that in her stocking for Christmas when she again shakes the tree about not seengthe kids.) I wish mine lived at least 1/2 as far away asyour MIL because at least we would have better excuses for the kids. It breaks my heart to tell Derek no we can’t visit everytime we drive by her house 4-5 times a week minimum. But hey, mine is into harassing mode again this week, so I feel a bit aggrevated by the wholeMIL situation period.

  7. We have issues with my mother in law as well. She is pretty elderly, and very paranoid that people are trying to take everything away from her. And, if it were just that she were old and losing it I could cut her some slack, however, she has been this way forever! She is just an angry woman who has pretty much alienated all her loved ones from her life. Really sad especially for my husband.

  8. In response to Destiny. I would highly recommend not taping any phone conversations. Most states have what’s called the 2 party law, meaning both parties in the conversation have to have knowledge that the call is being recorded. You could find yourself being chagred with some serious crimes.

    Just thought I’d pass that on.

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