Today is my mother-in-law’s 81st birthday. This would be the woman who birthed and raised my incredibly dysfunctional husband. I met her 36 1/2 years ago. She was 44 years old, had been married to my father-in-law for nearly 23 years and had a 27 year old estranged daughter (you do the math), Blue Eyes at 21 (we met when we were both 20), and an 18 year old son, Uncle D. Blue Eyes was a sophomore at college and I was a freshman. Blue Eyes invited me for Thanksgiving.
I wrote the below post about that Thanksgiving.
After Blue Eyes was diagnosed as a sex addict in January, 2014 and his childhood wounds were being ripped from deep inside him, and addressed, and his parents were behaving as mean as ever, he stopped contacting them. Neither of us knew if he would ever speak to them again, especially after my buried trauma was unearthed as a part of my therapy and healing, but my instincts were that he would want to contact them one day. That day came far sooner than I would have liked.
Now, mind you, it’s not like his parents were reaching out to him. They just couldn’t be bothered. They never ever took responsibility for their deplorable behavior. They chalked it all up to Blue Eyes being a really crappy, disrespectful spoiled rotten son (he wasn’t) and they went on about their lives. Because that is what mean, narcissistic people do.
For some reason that eludes me, after nearly six years of living without them and coming to terms with all the abuse and trauma, Blue Eyes decided to contact his parents. We met them for dinner in Los Angeles in December, 2019. His father was about to turn 85. Since that time I have not talked with them, not once. I have no desire and there is no need. Blue Eyes communicates with his father often, and occasionally speaks with his mother, who is as self absorbed and mean as ever. I did, however, last year on her 80th birthday, send her a magnificent bouquet of 80 roses, from our family. She made it to 80! Good for her.
A couple weeks ago MIL was rushed to the hospital with bleeding varicose veins. Apparently there was blood everywhere and they couldn’t stop the bleeding. I’m sure this scared her and no doubt there was pain involved. She doesn’t do well with pain. I orchestrated sending her a bouquet of tropical flowers. She loves Hawaii, so I thought she would appreciate the tropical nature of the bouquet. Apparently not… she called it unusual, and then chastised Blue Eyes for changing his mobile phone number (which he did seven years ago).
So yesterday I called up an LA florist and ordered a huge bouquet of more traditional blooms plus french macarons to be delivered to her for her birthday, from all of us, including the Brooklyn couple. It was a spendy venture. This is my way of trying to be kind to a woman who has rarely been kind to me, and I love flowers, so not a huge chore.
Blues Eyes received a quick email thanking him for the flowers. She actually copied me on the email, however she used an email address that hasn’t been active for many years. She merely said… “thank you very much. Mom”
About an hour later I received an email from the florist that went like this:
“Your mother in law called and said the flower arrangement is magnificent. That she has never seen anything like it. We talked for quite some time. She is nice.”
In this case, the apple doesn’t fall far from the proverbial tree. For some reason it is easier for my in laws and my husband to treat strangers better than they treat the people they profess to love. I will never understand it and I certainly will never emulate it.
I have found the following article to be immensely helpful to me in reminding me how I was raised and how I choose to behave:
“Set an example. Treat everyone with kindness and respect, even those who are rude to you— not because they are nice, but because you are.” ~Marc and Angel Hack Life
Now I want to send my own mom some gorgeous flowers… for just being a kind, thoughtful, loving, giving, nurturing mother. I’m gonna do that!
Peace, friends! 🌸