…on steel horse I ride…
Actually, I do ride a motorcycle, but that’s not the point. However, I now have that song in my head, and I thought it only fair to share.
I read a post a few weeks ago at the Post Divorce Chronicles about “in-laws vs. outlaws.” I have most definitely become an outlaw.
My ex-MIL has two boys. Her other DIL lives a few hours away and her family is large and close. XMIL always wanted a daughter and my mom is gone (stupid euphemism, but “she’s dead” sounds so harsh), so it was a good opportunity for both of us. The relationship was never truly comfortable–my ex-in-laws are very different than my parents–but it was nice to have a figure like that in my life. My ex-husband is very close to his family, so we’d go there for dinner often, and we traveled with them. She even asked to take me shopping for and bought me some maternity clothes. I was pretty lucky, as far as mothers-in-law go.
And then I walked out on their precious little boy. My ex-husband used the words “abandoned” and “deserted” in counseling with me, so no doubt he used those words with them. He was the one who translated the situation to his family, and it was apparent.
I wouldn’t ever have asked for his parents to hear my side of the story. I just wouldn’t expect that. And as I mentioned before, he had a very tight family and a close social circle. They closed ranks around him as soon as I left.
That I should have expected, but I was a bit taken aback. Only one person made any sort of effort to keep in touch.
My ex and I committed to coparenting our son, and we worked on a relationship that would allow that, but his family stayed silent to me.
His parents came to the hospital when Smiley was born and completely overwhelmed me when we finally got to our room. It was terrible. His mother did bring dinner to the house once and she took over care of Smiley one day when I was too sick to even take care of myself. But that was the only contact we had for months.
I have reached out, when I thought to. I sent flowers for Christmas. I sent them a Grandparents’ Day card this year. I even invited them to dinner, but they had other plans. (And I tried very hard to believe that, rather than take it personally.)
When Smiley was sick a few weeks ago, XMIL called to offer an extra set of hands, which was refreshing, even if I didn’t need to take her up on it.
The relationship is slowly building. I hope they realize that the better we get along, the better it is for Smiley, but I also understand they only hear one side of things.
My ex is their baby and seemingly can do no wrong. They did not have to be his partner, if I can even call it that. He doesn’t treat them with any sort of respect, but that doesn’t seem to bother them. His mother waits on him hand and foot, and that is what he expected from me, and they didn’t seem to understand why that would have been a problem for me.
And they are products of their backgrounds. Ex-grandmother-in-law (XMIL’s mom) told my BFF’s mom–at Smiley’s first birthday party–that “No one should ever go through what ‘ex’ went through.” Umm…yeah, because what I went through was easy peasy. <deep breath>
But there’s always another side to the story.
To be continued…