Monday, November 19, 2012

The Fight



It was only a matter of time.

Everyone knew it. Everyone said it. Everyone was expecting it.

The only question was, how soon would it happen? Or rather, how long would my mother-in-law and  and I play nice before blowing up at each other?

The answer: four weeks. To the day.

We were no strangers to the harsh word from the first time she lived with us. Back then we had fights about my parenting, my housekeeping, my cooking, my shopping. You name it. Some good ones, too.

She: "What'd you do? Buy everything in the store?"

Me: "Yes. Yes I did. There's nothing left. Don't ever go to PayLess again."

This go-round we had been having little snits, minor raising of voices over her incessant demands and her overuse of the beeper we bought her to summon us. We all became increasingly frustrated with one another. Being awakened five or six times a night and summoned 18 times in a day will do that to you.

"You can't wake us up every hour on the hour and expect us to be all happy and in a good mood the next day," I said. More than once.

And she had been making snide little comments about my daughter's hair, which is frizzy,  and her face, which is broken out, and her clothes, which are often wrinkled.

Then the day before, she had raised her voice to my child after asking her to find a bag of chocolates on the dresser.  My daughter couldn't find them quickly enough, apparently. So, they had their own little blow out.

"Just pick your battles," I told my 11-year-old. "Walk away when you can."

But I did not heed my own advice.

It started simply enough. It was shortly after 8 a.m., and I was putting away the $78 worth of liquor I had just bought on my way home from dropping the dogs off at the groomer. Inspired by the bottle of Crystal Skull vodka still on display from our little Halloween party, I decided to turn one shelf of my barrister bookcase into a liquor cabinet. Plus, it made for easy access.

To give her credit, she never ashed me why I bought $78 worth of liquor, and actually complimented me on the new boozy display.

"It looks nice," she said.

But a few minutes later, she made a comment about how all her stuff was missing. All the stuff from her apartment, which was packed in seven big plastic bins and stacked in my garage until the next day, when my stepdaughter planned to come over and go through it all with her.

Frustrated, angry and ready to show her that we had not thrown her things away (as she accused), I stormed out to the garage and took a picture of them all with my cell phone, came back inside and showed it to her.

"Look," I shouted. "It's all there. If you want, I'll go get them all and stack them in your room for you. To the ceiling. Then we can call the TV show 'Hoarders.'"

That set her off:

"YOU'RE the one who needs to go on Hoarders!" she shouted. "Look at all this stuff. Why don't you ever throw anything away?"

Me: "Oh. You mean like the two bookshelves full of books I JUST threw away to make room for you? Or the bookshelf?"

Her: "Yeah. You keep saying you have a little house. It's not a little house. You just have too much stuff in it."

Me: "You're right. I do. I now have two wheelchairs, a toilet seat, a toilet chair, a bath chair and a walker."

And we went from there. About the 18 beeps. About my daughter's rudeness. About the constant wake-ups. About how stupid it is that everyone in my family's name begins with an "L."  She even said the only reason I married my husband is because his last name starts with an 'L."

If I were a lesser person, I might have told her the real reason I married him...

The truth is, she hurt me. I'm sure I hurt her too. Neither of us cared.

But my husband did when he happened to come home for a forgotten briefcase in the middle of this mess.

I wasn't going to let her see me cry, though. I went upstairs, put on my walking shoes, grabbed my iPhone and left, slamming doors in my wake.

I was on my second lap around the park, with tears pouring down my face, when he drove up in his hot little convertible, got out and leaned against the fender to wait for me.  He opened his arms as I approached and pulled me in.

"If you tell me I can't fight with your mother, I'm divorcing you," I said through my tears.

"No. I told her she can't fight with you," he replied.

And THAT's why I married him.








33 comments:

  1. There is a lot of emotion in this story, but mostly, it is the love that I see.

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    1. Lots of emotions... But yeah. If the Coach and I can stick together, we'll make it. Thanks for reading!

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  2. Wonderful that your hubby had your back -- sounds like he's a keeper!

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    1. It was his Richard Gere moment. Or something like that... Thanks for reading!

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  3. Wow, that's tough. If my MIL ever moves in, I'll likely be writing something closely resembling this. How are things going now? Yay for supportive partners. xo

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    1. Things are better this week. I guess we needed to get it all out. My morning walk is my mental health moment too. My anger is making me skinny.

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  4. Wow. This is really good. I felt the sense of exhaustion that you must feel. And I wanted to give you a hug. Thank goodness, your hubby did it for me!

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    1. Aw.. I would love a hug. A few, actually. Yes, my hubs is a keeper. His mother, not so much.

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  5. I can totally picture you and her fighting in your "too full" house. Thank goodness your hubby understands your frustration and doesn't get too sensitive about his mom - you don't need that added pressure!

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    1. Oh he definitely is on my side. He better be. No really. We're in this together. Thanks for reading.

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  6. Awesome hubs! I can see why you keep him :)

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    1. Yeah. He's a keeper. Not his mother. ... It was his Richard Gere/Prince Charming moment.

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  7. I'm glad your husband stuck up for you, and totally bummed I can never go to Payless again. I can't believe you bought everything in the store. :)

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    1. I know! Do you know, at one point I actually snuck in the back door so she wouldn't see all my bags. She always had a comment. Grrrr. The Hubs laughed at me over that. He's a cool guy. Thanks for reading!

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  8. Standing up, clapping. So much good stuff in here, to go with the bad. The MIL breaks the decency code by criticizing an 11 year-old girl who's going through the same yucktastic stuff we all did at that age. An hourly beeper summons? You're a saint.

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    1. Oh but the MIL NEVER had a zit, NEVER had a cramp, NEVER had a headache, NEVER had a dream... She does now... Yeah. The beeper will go when she does. I promise.

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  9. Aw, that is so rough! It's hard to get along with someone who refuses to get along with you. Thank goodness your husband stuck up for you!

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    1. I have to learn to pick my battles too. Right? My hub is the greatest. He has my back.

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  10. Ugh I cannot even fathom living with my MIL. But I like the sweet ending with your husband supporting you.

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  11. I just loved the end! What a rough situation!

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    1. Thanks Ginny. I married him for other reasons too.... :)

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  12. I've never visited your blog before but saw you on the yeah write grid and here I am. So happy to find another blogger who loves baseball! This is no doubt the darkest time of year for me, just waiting for pitchers and catchers to report and so happy that my son's fall season is still going (Texas, we can play all the time). Anyway, glad you have a good man and bless your heart for taking in your mother-in-law. Hope things settle down a bit for you.

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    1. I do love baseball -- except when my husband is on the road and leaves me at home with his mom... We haven't crossed THAT bridge yet... He's a good guy. Really. Thanks for reading -- and for writing!

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  13. Wow, I was so frustrated in there with you... I can't believe she's that ungrateful (especially with your daughter) - but YAY for the happy ending! (I mean, I know it's not over, but it was a great way to end your post.)

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  14. What a tough situation. I hope things get easier for you!

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  15. Yes! Now that's how you keep a marriage together. You have to have each other's back first. I could never live with my MIL (or my own mother). Just thinking about it makes the hair on my arms stand up.

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  16. Wow! I don't want to comment on your relationship with your mom-in-law, but I just want to say your husband is a good man. You can tell he has his priorities where they should be...he is cleaving to you!

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    1. Oh, and I'm over from the SITS Girls today! Thanks for sharing!

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  17. An awful situation to be in. Sounds like you married a wonderful man, though.

    Stopping in from SITS.

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  18. Stopping by from SITS...

    I dread the day when this happens to me. I know my mother in law will be the same. She's never once in the 15 years Hubby and I have been together given an inch. Sounds like you married quite a catch. Love the end of this post.

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  19. That is a heart wrenching blog. I deal with my mother-in-law daily as well (she lives 200 ft away), but she doesn't leave us alone a single day. She hounds us in some form or fashion, and she is all up in our business. Like your husband, mine puts his foot down when he needs to as well.

    That is such a wonderful trait to have in a husband especially when our in-laws are such a vital part of our lives.

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  20. Google is making me crazy, not letting me respond to the comments on my own blog. GRRRR. Plus, MIL has been in the hospital since Saturday night -- her birthday -- after she ate seafood gumbo, crab cakes and crackers and downed them with a Bloody Mary. Something about salt... Hmmm. Then she asked us for CheeseIts in the hospital. So, she'll be home later today (we hope) with a new low-salt/chocolate free diet, which should make her more relaxed and calm. Right? Me? I've bought MORE vodka! Thanks you all for reading and for taking the time to write. My husband is a wonderful guy. We're in this together.

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