Tuesday, May 06, 2008

My Mother in Law

I've known my mother-in-law for more or less, eighteen years. I've been her daughter-in-law for a bit over twelve of them. It was not always easy dealing with her, but thankfully I've gotten smart - or worn down, dependent upon how you look at it.

My friend Jennifer lives for MIL stories which are a bit more sedate lately, but certainly still have their bite. Take for example her admonishing her cousin, Ella*, who happens to write books about her Holocaust experience and visits schools to discuss them. MIL finds Ella's hawking of books distasteful. Not one to hold back, she has told her that in more or less those words. Well, actually she indicated that a friend in high places has seen Ella in action and has relayed to MIL that she is forcing her books on people. All this is told to Ella for her own good, of course.

Last night, Tali indicated that Grandma asked her if her friend in school, Friend X*, had lost any weight. When Tali asked her why she cared (gotta love that kid), Grandma replied "She's a nice Jewish girl, she could stand to lose some weight." Of course, all for Friend X's own good.

Julian went to Grandma's after school today. On the way home from violin, Tali and I stopped to pick him up. She brought out some Israeli gum that is now deeply discounted after Passover and offered it to the kids. "It's coffee flavor." I asked if there was caffeine in it and she shrugged "I'm sure not much." It ended up being "cocktail flavored." "Great," I muttered "now instead of giving them caffeine, she'll just liquor them up." Not for their own good, but it couldn't hurt.

The gum turned out to be some fruity concoction which wasn't terrible. My MIL triumphantly huffed as she went to get a box for me to take "Nothing wrong with this gum, it's better than any of the American gum."

We got ready to go after she finished shoveling the rest of Julian's dinner into his mouth which I just ignored (for my own good). She mentions that Scissors is mad at her because "I asked him if he took away the quarters that I was saving for Tali in the jar."

"I don't know why he'd be upset, you just accused him of stealing...okay, maybe borrowing without asking." I deadpanned. She smiled sweetly.

She decided it was the cleaning lady whom she never wanted to begin with and is long since gone.

When I got home I said to Scissors "heard you got into your Mother's quarter jar."

"Here we go with the quarters again." he snaps.

"I think I'll take Louie for a walk." For his own good, of course. Unlike Scissors, I have learned to edit out the rage from MIL's outrageous comments and just laugh. She still gets me annoyed on a bad day, but I tend to address it and drop it. After all, she's only telling me something for my own good.

*NAMES CHANGED...for their own good.


Tom & Icy said...

That is quite an achievement to learn how to edit other people's sarcasm and not take it so personal or as evil. But, true, some days it is really hard to take.

Doug The Una said...

Ha! Nice ending.

Ariel the Thief said...

Your MIL sounds like one who will never stop fighting with the world. Smart girl you are! Just shoot a cushion to death on the bad days. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Wow. Can I send my sister to your house for MIL lessons?

It's not easy to take but you seem to have mastered it

G said...

T&I, it was not a few years that I took it personally - now I know better. She does have her good qualities which somehow don't make for good blog :)

Doug, ha, thanks.

Ariel, that's it in a nutshell. I'm glad that I eventually figured that out.

Pia, send her over - we could have a MIL bootcamp. It was that or never speak to her, so I mastered it. :)

In the interest of full disclosure, she is infinitely generous and would walk to the ends of the earth for her grandchildren and children (of whom she considers me one) so I've learned to just ignore the little jibes.

Anonymous said...

She sounds like such a character.
Mine is too--like from Sinclair Lewis. But once one understands the context someone comes from, it's easier to be sympathetic. Also, she always means well--for our own good, of course.

G said...

Weirsdo, she is indeed. That's of course it, in a nutshell - understanding what's behind the behavior. It's always for our own good. :)

tsduff said...

Where have I been??

Dealing with rough spots with people (especially in the framily) is truly a talent not many folks have. You have managed nicely my dear G.

Give Louie a pat for me.

G said...

You've been a busy bird, that's where.

Well now, I just spent a bit more time with her this week, so my managing is wearing thin :) And now tomorrow...

I certainly will. He loves tummy rubs most of all.