You know, I have been trying to avoid recapping my recent guest performance with the Beavertucky Dancers in the passive-aggressive ballet. But, ever since I indicated that I had caved and pulled on the tights, I have been FLOODED with requests for the update. OK, flooded might be an exaggeration... but I am short, so we can chalk it up to a matter of perspective. you can drown in as little as a few inches of email people... be vigilant.
See, see me trying to distract you... LOOK, over there.
OK, so it started quite innocently. My MIL asked N. what MY opinion of the situation was... now, some of you may find that irritating, that she refuses to actually call and speak to me -- that she only calls us on N.'s cell phone. But, in this case, I avoided getting involved directly. N. expressed that I really thought that since the baby is in fact my SIL's, her rules trump all. That is all he told me about the conversation. I think that more was said, who knows.
About three days later, as I am emailing with SIL on a TOTALLY unrelated subject, she personally introduced me to the large, pink elephant sitting in the corner. For two days, I ignored the elephant... but they are very loud and messy and they eat a lot... eventually, I had to acknowledge it. If for no other reason than I had to email my SIL back about something else. It would have been awkward. Plus, I was a little irritated that this stupid feud was still going on.
Long story short... I was honest with her. I told her that I agreed with her but that for her to expect my MIL to be anything other than the person she has been for 57 years was being unrealistic and that she was setting herself up for a lifetime of disappointment.
You see, as irritating and foreign as I think that my MIL is, and as bizarre as her behavior can be... I have come to learn something about her over the past 7 years. She does not really know how to have a real, true relationship based on mutual trust and love with another person. She had a tough childhood, she had to compete for affection... and she has never met the good end of a psychologist's couch. In many ways, I feel sorry for her. It must be difficult and exhausting and incredibly lonely to never really TRUST that people care about you and love you, even if they disagree with you. There are people who are maliciously manipulative... she is not one of them. She has no idea that other people's minds and hearts don't work like hers. She is just... oh heck, you know.
There is something else. My MIL lived to be a mother -- it defined her, it was her calling. You think that some of the mothers in your neighborhood "mommy mafia" are over the top... you have no idea. This woman started the revolution. So, for my SIL to criticize her for the way she handled a child... to call into question her care for an infant, well, my SIL might as well have said "you are a suck ass mother!" because I guarantee you... that is what my MIL heard.
And this is in a nutshell, what I told my SIL. That she had every right to speak her peace, to stand up for her wishes for her child... but in doing so, she had to understand what was going on in my MIL's head and prepare for the inevitable reaction. Understanding this, has helped me pick my battles and let other things slide with a clench of the butt-hole and a crick of the neck.
My husband, FIL and BIL have their own coping mechanism for this... and as immature as I may think it is, it has served them well for over 35 years. I encouraged SIL to find her own way of maneuvering around the landmines. She is going to need it...
Living five miles away and all.
I don't think that they have resolved the issue... but perhaps they each have something to think about...