Grist for the MIL

I dropped the wife & sprog off at the airport yesterday morning. They’re going to visit her folks in PE for a week. Why wasn’t I accompanying her? The short answer is simply that my mother-in-law doesn’t want me there. She always pestering my wife to to bring her new(ish) granddaughter to stay, but each time we have suggested that all three of us come for a visit, the tune changes key very sharply. The excuses are always insultingly transparent: “We don’t have the space” (when the in-laws actually have two spare bedrooms), is a prime example. “Pa has hurt his back”, is another. How my presence contributes to preventing the FIL’s recovery has never been adequately explained to me. I think this would bother me a lot more if I actually wanted to go, but in truth, it suits me to have a week on my own to catch my breath a bit.

My MIL has a positively Victorian outlook on life. Her ambition has always been for her daughters to meet nice doctors, get married, settle down, have lots of children and become housewives, because as everybody knows, that is the only possible route to fulfillment for any woman. Apparently, there were many tears shed when my wife decided to move out of the house into a place of her own (there will be FORNICATION and no man will marry a SULLIED woman etc. etc.)

I have never quite lived up to my MIL’s expectations, because from the outset she suspected (rightly so, as it turned out) that I was one of the sulliers. She was able to pretend otherwise after the wedding (remind me to tell you about that circus one day), but I know it’s always rankled her. She’s never been able to forgive me for not being a doctor, though. To rub salt in the wound, my lack of ambition to be anything other than a drone means that my earning potential will alway fall squarely in the ‘mediocre’ band. My MIL has realised that I will never be in a position to provide her daughter with the stay-at-home-mother type of lifestyle she believes she should have. My punishment for this heinous crime is, apparently, that I will ever be denied entry into the august presence of my Mother-in-law. It’s a bit like being told, “Tremble, sinner! For ye shall be cast into the dreaded Pit of Marshmallows”. Funny how some things just work out for the best.

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