A week ago now I emailed my MIL and asked if we were still going to see her in March. She had made a big deal with "pencil me in! Are you doing it right now? Are you done yet? Am I penciled?"
"Yes, you're penciled." But not literally. I did not actually write anything down, because if my MIL picks out a particular weekend and tells me she coming A) the threat is enough to keep me from forgetting, and B) I don't actually believe her.
She has seen the Cracker twice since he was born: at 5 months and at 28 months. She lives 6 hours away by car, and likes to tell me about how she can fly here on Southwest $28 one-way. All talk, no action.
"Has he changed? Will I notice a change in him?"
No, developmentally he'll be the same kid at 4 that you last saw at 2 and not quite a half. He's just taller now.
So she makes this really big deal, informs me of the who (just her), the when (March 15-18th), the where (my house), and then I didn't hear from her again, at all. Finally she calls two weekends ago and J answers the phone. Did she mention the penciled visit? No, not a word. And of course J forgot to ask .
(Sorry, I’m distracted by the neighbor’s puppy across the street who is strutting up and down the fence line with a big ol tumbleweed in her mouth. It’s freaking adorable.)
So, to recap quickly: MIL informs me she’s coming to visit. Weeks go by without any contact. She calls, talks to J, doesn’t mention the visit. I e-mail her and ask nicely “Are we still going to see you in March?” More time elapses. She e-mails J today and again doesn’t mention it.
Why do I even care? Because I am trying to book a flight, and it turns out that the best time for us to go includes part of the days she’s selected. It’s too late to call her now and I have a sinking feeling that the fare will go up $400 at midnight when it becomes less than 14 day advance notice. (I forgot about stupid short February.) And I KNOW she’s not coming, but I have to pretend that this time will be different just because she’s the mother of my husband, and if the Cracker ever sees me they way J does her I will be devastated.
(And it was far too windy to play outside today. That always puts me in a foul mood.)
I care because I’m tired of playing this game with her. She picks arbitrary dates in the future 3-4 times a year, tells me she’s buying tickets and that she’ll call with the details in less than 24 hours, and then doesn’t. It’s not that I don’t like her, and I try my best to make her feel welcome because I want her to be a part of my child’s life, but my patience has worn thin. Her relationship with J is strained to say the least so the effort I make is for his sake as well.
“Why does she do this? And why do I let her get to me?”
”It’s the whole passive aggressive thing. Nothing’s changed.”
This brings me to our old code name for her, Pamela, which dates back to our newlywed days. Passive Aggressive Mother In Law Attacks. (Okay, so it’s not perfect acronym, but I was a friggin teenager.)
Further proof that we are evil: we did get a laugh at her expense today. In the e-mail she sent J, which he forwarded to me, she has added a new signature line:
“(Business name) coordinator #32,864”
Pyramid scheme, anyone?*
*Which reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw recently "Mary Kay: Enriching Women's Lives.” I don’t wear face paint more than once a year because I am far too lazy, but really? Enriching women’s lives? And I stupidly wonder why the princess thing has gone from an innocent game of make believe to so out of control that it’s hard to find a 0-3 mos Carter’s outfit that doesn’t say “Princess” on it somewhere. (But more on that another day.)