Both of my sisters have amazing mother-in-laws who love them to pieces. One isn’t even married yet and her boyfriend’s mother dotes on her constantly, from Christmastime to trips, outings to Scentsy parties. They hang out like they are pals. My sister who is married is just about BFFs with her MIL. They do everything together, from weekly TV watching dates to shopping and eating out together. Both of these two do this without their menfolk present, while I couldn’t imagine being in the same room with my MIL without my husband present.
It’s not like I didn’t know that we wouldn’t get along when we got married; we have never gotten along. We never wanted the same things, really. My husband and I have been together since junior high, the year my MIL tried to dress me up in one of her own dresses (which did not fit, not to mention resulted in a pretty embarrassing experience altogether; I have always hated trying on clothes and here she was, trying to make me into her own doll. She also organized a limousine ride for our first dance—her father owned the company—which was casual, and everyone made fun of us. I also happened to hate limos (I had told my boyfriend this, but apparently the message hadn’t been relayed) after a bad experience with one as a child.
That was only the beginning, though; those things are incidents that one can move past. Over the years, she resented me taking her son, sometimes even calling me “that little bitch” in the background over the telephone. Who calls a twelve year old “that little bitch”? It’s something that’s hard to get over, for sure. And despite some recent bonding episodes—the birth of my daughter, the sharing of what it’s like to shop in plus size sections with little to choose from—I just can’t bridge that gap between us. I feel extremely uncomfortable around her—as well as her husband, though for different reasons—and every time she looks at me, I feel like a bug, like her hate is just seeping into my skull. Of course, my husband tells me that’s just the way she looks at people.
I once entertained the idea that we could hang out sometime when we were older, but now, fifteen years later, I know that’s likely not going to happen. We are quite different, and I don’t think she’s ever really forgiven me for stealing her son away (does any mother?). The fact that I fell hard for her son and wanted to spend every living breathing moment with him from age twelve on should be a compliment, right? And isn’t that any teenage girl, anyway?
So I just need to get over my envy. I have lots of wonderful women in my life whom I spend time with (including my sister’s MIL, actually), as well as an amazing mother (who reminded me of this fact when I complained to her about it). “You can’t have both,” she told me. “You did!” I reminded her. “And both of my sisters do!” She just laughed, which I suppose is the best response. I should do the same—and enjoy what I do have.