Monday, November 08, 2004
The Original Mother-in-Law Story
Oh, save me from the nightmare of irritating in-laws...

This has come up in a few different conversations lately, AND I just found out that my mother-in-law is coming to visit this weekend, so I thought I would post my classic Terrible Mother-In-Law story.

As background, she and I actually get along fairly well when my husband isn't around - so it's not *me* that she hates. It's that I "took" her oldest son... and even worse, I hold him to some standards of behavior and expect him to treat me with some respect. So she gets all weird and competitive around him. AND she's textbook passive-aggressive, so when she does these snotty, petty things, she totally denies that she meant to do them. Usually it's little stuff like, she wore black to my wedding, or when she goes out for coffee she brings something back for everyone but me, or she tells me I am selfish for breastfeeding because it means she has less time with Jacob - though she lives 7 hours away. But the ultimate story happened just before Willem and I got engaged...

We were both in grad school, me in Boston and him in upstate New York, and we decided to go away on Spring Break together. So we were sort of waffling about where to go, and his mother called him. She spends winters in Florida (not because of her age, but because she does Dressage horse-riding), and she wanted "us" to come down. Now, we all know that what she WANTED was for him to come down, but she recognized that I was part of the package so she was willing to endure my presence as well. I mean, she and Willem had just gone shopping to pick out my engagement ring, she knew I wasn't a passing fling!

Anyway, so, she said that not only could we stay with her, but she would pay for our plane tickets. How could we turn that down? We were broke college students! So, great, sure. And the tickets come in the mail a week later.

His are in First Class.

Mine are in Coach.

Yes, really.

We told our story to the airline ticket people, and after they fell on the floor laughing, they got up and arranged it so that for the flight down we both sat in First Class, and for the flight home we both sat in Coach. Mother-in-law was unhappy with that, but there wasn't much she could do about it.

I'm surprised we were both on the same plane.

And it gets better! About a week after we got home she called me up and asked me to pay her back for my ticket - "It cost more than I expected it to." So I wrote a check to Willem and had him write a check to her on one of his own personal checks. Of course she refused to cash it.

To this day, she refuses to admit that she holds any responsibility for this debacle. "I didn't have enough Frequent Flyer miles to get 2 seats in First Class." Hmm.

I just try and keep a brick wall handy when she's around, for convenient head-bashing.