Life Among the Never-Winged

Once upon a time I was writing a book called, "Just Another Love Letter", about angels behaving badly. Now I just quietly ask myself each day, "What the hell am I doing?"

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Location: The Rocky Mountain Empire, United States

My friends always knew I was going to hell. My only hope is that God likes good jokes and bad redheads.

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  • Sunday, April 29, 2007

    Trust, Violated

    It's the middle of the night. I'm exhausted, I think, but I can't tell because I am so enraged right now.

    We left the boyos with O's folks tonight, so we could go to his class reunion. This is the third time recently that we've taken them over to their house to be watched. O's folks used to come here, because it was easier to get the boyos to bed afterwards. But with my FIL's health, it makes more sense to take the boyos over there, and since they have reached an age where they aren't into everything, I'm not worried about them damaging anything anymore.

    What I was worried about in this new arrangement came to pass tonight, after I'd reached a point where I trusted it wouldn't happen.

    When we picked up the boyos tonight, my MIL waited until O was in another room.

    “I have something to tell you,” she said. “J (my SIL) came by this evening. She didn't know the boys were here. She just wanted to drop off some tools, and she had some pizza with them. I just wanted to tell you.”

    Let's pause here. Now, I will suspend my disbelief enough to grant that perhaps J didn't know the boyos would be there, despite the fact that she and my MIL are on the phone once an hour. I will grant the possibility that she happened to be in her car with the tools and decided to drop in unannounced on a Saturday night. But, to sit down and have pizza with them, to be allowed to do so, considering the state of affairs...

    I didn't respond. I didn't trust myself to respond. I looked at the tv instead. My MIL continued. “She just had a couple pieces of pizza.” She was using her defensive voice, as if I had said something. And since I was raised a Nice Girl, I responded, “It's fine.” My tone was flat, and certainly not amused. My MIL kept on about it.

    And then it kicked into my brain that she was talking to me about this, not to O and not to the both of us, and I said, “I am not the one who started this. I am not the one who picked up the phone out of nowhere and told someone what a horrible person she is and then hung up on her.”

    “Well. I just don't know what to do,” she said.

    And then she added this little kicker:

    “I just want everyone to get along by (the FIL's) birthday. That would be nice, don't you think?”

    I feel violated. Again. My SIL's rude, she's pushy; once when we were all actually getting along she came over while I was out of town and O was at work and pushed my mom around, ignoring our house rules regarding what the boyos were allowed and not allowed to do (putting my mom in an awkward position as well), and now she's doing it again.

    I don't want my boyos eating with a woman who has verbally attacked their parents on numerous occasions, and has caused a rift in the family. I don't want her to have access to them when we are not around. We have not spoken to her in a year and a half. What gives her the right to sit down and have pizza with our sons just out of the blue?

    And how can I trust my MIL again? The fact that she let this happen, and that she only told me about it while O was out of the room, and in a manner that left me feeling like Grendel's mother; some dumb, hairy, clutching doesn't sit well. It doesn't sit well at all.

    Am I overreacting?

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    16 people left me a love letter:

    Blogger Dantares wrote in a love letter...

    No you are not over-reacting. But you would like to, from the sounds of it. And you think O would.
    (just to clarify - is pizza a crime in your eyes?)
    It was incredibly rude of your SIL. And of your IL's to allow it. But that's not the issue. Though I'm not a buddhist, it's their bad karma. What is the issue is that you didn't like it. Did the boy's like it?

    5:37 AM, April 29, 2007  
    Blogger Dantares wrote in a love letter...

    Final thought - it couldn't be an incredibly subtle apology to you via the kids, could it?

    5:38 AM, April 29, 2007  
    Blogger meno wrote in a love letter...

    Ugh. You can't trust SIL, and you can't trust people who let her push them around. I think you just lost a babysitter.

    As for the overreacting part, it's hard for me to say, not knowing every detail. But MIL clearly knew that you would NOT like the situation, and let it happen anyway.

    I'm sorry.

    8:53 AM, April 29, 2007  
    Blogger Scott from Oregon wrote in a love letter...

    MIL lets SIL visit the boyos...



    Still thinking...

    She's not dangerous in a dangerous sort of way, and Mothers tend to see the best in their kids even if everyone else sees red, so...

    I'm not too upset by this.

    I mean, some families are dealing with murder, incest and addiction issues...

    You're getting off relatively easy.

    10:36 AM, April 29, 2007  
    Blogger Stucco wrote in a love letter...

    What'd O say?

    1:00 PM, April 29, 2007  
    Blogger patches wrote in a love letter...

    I think I understand your feelings. Pizza isn't the issue as much as your MIL violating your trust. I'm not defending your MIL's action (If I were you I'd probably feel the same) but she's in a difficult situation as she is forced to be the fulcrum that balances a seesaw relationship between her adult children. She doesn't want to jeopardize her own relationship with her children, but in an effort to appease she might inadvertently sacrifice one.

    If you are considering discussing this further with your MIL, appeal to her maternal side. Explain your position, then tell her you only want the boys to be subjected to good influences as they are impressionable. Tell her that your SIL has not proven that she can be a good example, and as the boys mother it is your responsibility to intervene....Crap this comment is a post within itself...

    7:22 PM, April 29, 2007  
    Blogger Schmoopie wrote in a love letter...

    I do not think you've actually trusted your MIL all along. Deep down, you knew she'd eventually do this, but held-out hope that she had relented and would defer to your wishes. She will ALWAYS defer to J.'s wishes. J. is mentally ill. Your MIL refuses to see that J. is the one who started all the madness.

    Knowing your "backstory," I am so sorry this has happened again. While the world is indeed full of murder and mayhem, your personal world has come crashing down around you. You are forever haunted by your past (as a lot of us are.)

    Can't wait to see you next week, and give you a hug :)

    8:14 PM, April 29, 2007  
    Blogger Lynn wrote in a love letter...

    If MIL knew that you did not want SIL near the boys, or should I say you didn't want your boys near SIL, and MIL let it happen anyway, then you have every right to be pissed off. However, I suspect that you probably already knew that your MIL is a wimp when it comes to SIL, and maybe you are really pissed off at yourself for leaving them with her, knowing in the back of your mind that this could happen. Now you know that if you leave the boys at MIL's house that SIL will have access to them and will see them...if you don't want that to happen in the future, then don't leave the boys at the IL's without either your or O being there to protect them. Hopefully SIL was on good behavior, and the boys were blissfully unaware of any undercurrent. Did you at least have fun at the reunion?

    10:16 PM, April 29, 2007  
    Blogger Maggie wrote in a love letter...

    Understanding you job as mother it is your right to set boundaries for your children, even when they are at someone else's house. If SIL has done things, even 'just' to compromise the respect due you as parents, it is your right to say no way, she will not have pizza with my children, be around my children if I/we are not there. A person who has no qualms about attacking you verbally in front of your kids or who perpetuates family drama is not someone you would want influencing your kids. Now, I don't know your story, but I'm a big beleiver in instinct and parental responsibility. So, I would say its not necessarily something to create more family drama over, but is something to draw a line over. Why did she choose to talk away from O? Would he have reacted more strongly?

    9:17 AM, April 30, 2007  
    Blogger Irrelephant wrote in a love letter...

    My mother has spent the entire duration of my daughter's life ignoring, forgetting or otherwise feigning ignorance of most of my wishes concerning how she is raised, what she is exposed to, what she eats...the list goes on. I know the feeling of trust betrayed, and unfortunately it doesn't get any easier to deal with after years pass. I wish I had even the inkling of a useful suggestion but looking at my own life I find nothing but failure in that department.

    9:43 AM, April 30, 2007  
    Blogger Mona Buonanotte wrote in a love letter...

    What did O say when you told him?

    10:46 AM, April 30, 2007  
    Blogger Nancy Dancehall wrote in a love letter...

    I apologize for sounding like a raging loon. Which I do. But that's what happens when little bits of life are shown out of context. Anyway, I hate the way I sound when I whine.

    Dantares, it's not at all about the pizza. It's about the sneaking behind our backs, it's about a woman who once followed O to his car screaming at him at the top of her lungs because he offered to put her baby down for a nap for her. And if she wants to offer an apology, she needs to start with the parents.

    Yes, Meno, that's what it comes down to for me. The MIL knew we wouldn't be pleased, but let it happen.

    Scott, you don't get it, but that's ok. You don't know my whole story, and I _did_ ask if I was overreacting. I have two of those three things you mentioned in my very own background, and this incident parallels certain situations I experienced as a kid that I swore up and down I'd never let happen to my kids. Certainly NOT to the same degree, but enough to make me lose my trust.

    O was/is NOT happy about it, Stucco.

    Thanks, Patches. That is very close to summing up the situation. I do feel for my MIL, but she has a long history of bending over backwards for her daughter at the expense of the rest of the family. All that we are asking for from the SIL is an apology, and what we are hearing is that it is not forthcoming. Our early attempts at reconciliation were met with more shrieking, (and I do mean literal shrieking) so... *shrug*

    Schmoop, Thank you thank you thank you for the call on Sunday. It stopped my eyes from leaking. I can't WAIT to see you next week!! (And tell Stucco we'll have to continue our conversation on the deep metaphors and irony of 'The Devil in Miss Jones'.)

    You gave me something to chew on, Lynn. Thank you. I'm angry that it happened, and I'm angry that as parents, our wishes have been trumped, again. There's a long history of it here. I came from a family whose motto might as well have been, "Peace and Quiet at All Costs." Sounds good, until you become the sacrifice. That motto is springing up again.

    Maggie, "A person who has no qualms about attacking you verbally in front of your kids or who perpetuates family drama is not someone you would want influencing your kids." You nailed it, girl! There is also the possibility that the SIL told the boyos to 'keep it a secret,' because they haven't mentioned seeing their aunt after not seeing her for over a year, and they normally tell me every little detail about their days. I will not tolerate this. I don't care how innocuous it is, I will not tolerate it. Why did she talk to me about it and not O? Because I'm less likely to put up a fight. She and O have already gone around and around about all this.

    Frustrating, isn't it, Ir? Why does everyone else know best how to raise your kid? Advise is fine, but hold the enforcement, please.

    He was NOT happy. He told me after that when he walked in behind me he gave his mom the stinkeye. The MIL got real quiet after that.

    9:54 PM, April 30, 2007  
    Blogger Scott from Oregon wrote in a love letter...

    Well, then, my assessment was shallow and incorrect...

    Lord knows, familial politics within one's own clan are hard enough...

    I (happily) haven't dealt with issues quite as severe as what you intimate, so my views can't match the level of your hurt...

    I DO believe in defining your life by who you choose to allow to be in it. That, in this case, seems to be what you have done. And that is a positive thing.

    11:48 PM, April 30, 2007  
    Blogger Open Grove Claudia wrote in a love letter...

    NO, you are not over reacting. My mil is an incredibly nasty person, so I have some idea how you feel.

    However, this is about O and his relationship with HIS family. It's not about you or your children. It's about O and any indication that it's not about O is simply a lie.

    Whether she will ever admit it, your sil has a problem with O. O needs to set a limit with his sister (i.e., "you will not speak to me or my wife that way."). Until he does, there's not a damn thing you can do about your sil or your mil.

    This is his problem, his family, and he needs to cowboy up and deal with it.

    That from a marriage and family therapist - So there! ;)

    4:11 PM, May 01, 2007  
    Blogger Nancy Dancehall wrote in a love letter...

    Not shallow, Scott. You just didn't know the whole story.

    Hello again, Claudia. :-) O has set limits, and they were violated last Saturday. I haven't spoken to the SIL in a year and a half, and O has only spoken to her within the context of their father's health. Otherwise, our families have had no contact -- and that's how we like it right now.

    7:37 PM, May 02, 2007  
    Anonymous O wrote in a love letter...

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    11:29 PM, May 05, 2007  

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