This visit, I've had an insight into my mother-in-law's behavior. By profession, she works in a home for adults with severe developmental disabilities. I think this has given her an inflated sense of her own intelligence and competence. I think it has also given her certain habits of interpersonal behavior (i.e., telling adults what to do) that have carried over inappropriately into other, non-work relationships. And then let's say that first one a second time: I think it has given her an inflated sense of her own intelligence and competence.
I would also like to take a minute to speak badly of her former husband, my father-in-law. He doesn't get much press time because he's absent, and there aren't many good anecdotes about absence. One reason I put up with my mother-in-law is that as much as I dislike her, I approve of what she's doing: she's regularly traveling a long distance at considerable expense in order to visit her grandchildren. We never visit her, so she comes to us. I may feel like drugging her tea, but I like the concept of her visits, and I hope that if I drive my future daughters-in-law batcrap crazy (and I think statistically it's likely to happen with at least one) they will nevertheless support the concept of me visiting my grandchildren. And I hope I'll drive them nuts more in the "buys WAYYYYY too much crap we don't want or need" category rather than in the "rolls her eyes and does jazz hands until homicide seems like a viable option" category.
My father-in-law, on the other hand, hasn't ever visited. We let him know about each child's birth, and he doesn't respond. I send a packet of photos every month, and he doesn't respond. I send periodic email updates on how we're doing and how the kids are doing, and he doesn't respond. I send an annual Christmas package (this is something I go back and forth on, also annually) and he never responds. The only time we hear from him is every couple of years when he emails me to tell me about his journey to find himself, and to place blame on everyone and everything except himself for his inexplicable behavior (it was a childhood brain illness! it was his upbringing! it's because everyone spreads lies about him!). Then he disappears for another couple of years.
You know how at first it was so appalling that Britney Spears married that pinehole Kevin Federline, and then pretty soon it was like, "I never thought I'd say this but Britney Spears is making Kevin Federline look good." My father-in-law is the Britney Spears to my mother-in-law's Kevin Federline.
Gift ideas for an 8-year-old, part 2 of 2 - Last week I talked about the gifts we were getting/considering for Edward, who is turning 8 next month. This week it’s Elizabeth’s turn: not “girl gifts,” ...