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12:52 p.m. - 2011-11-10
It's How You Look At It.

Mess. Mess. Mess. Boy howdy, am I sick of mess! And how can a woman who hardly ever goes out and when I do it's rarely more than 5 or 6 miles from home be involved in so much drama? Beats the heck out of me.

Anyway, Mick says thank you. He, more than anyone I've ever known is willing to stand up for what's right. It's not that he's incapable of compromise, it's just essential to his well-being that he DO right. To someone like me who's always lived in murky shades of grey and settled for crumbs and allowed myself to be trampled on Mick's willingness to risk all in the name of doing the right thing is astonishing. Inspiring too. Clarified some stuff for me. See, no matter how much I backed down, gave in, gave up I ended up being hurt and losing anyhow. My efforts to avoid pain and abandonment never worked. Never. Mick's shown me I might as well go down swinging. At least I'll have the knowledge I'd done my best and stuck up for myself. Especially if others were going to be cruel and cowardly anyway.

Like MIL.

I'd sucked it up and put up with her being so hateful and cold about this George thing for months and months. Taking it in the teeth and pretending I wasn't hurt and miserable because I thought I had to. The price of 'family unity', you know? Who was I to rock the boat? Mick thought otherwise. Insisted I not go along to get along. What for? What exactly was I buying with my silent humiliation? What did I get out of the deal? A false friendship? A bullshit relationship that only worked if I pretended I was fine and that MIL hadn't cut me to the bone? What good is that? When I mumbled that at least he had thought everything was okay. He had still had his mother and wasn't that more important? Mick went rigid. It was not. If I was doing this for him he didn't want it. He'd never ask such a thing from me. Not even to keep the peace with his mother.

Who, btw, thrives on this shit. I've come to find out she's quite the vendetta hoarder. Mick sadly told me the whole thing. MIL never had a neighbor she hasn't gone to war with. Never had a co-worker she hadn't ratted out to the boss. MIL's own in-laws, FIL's family, Mick hardly even remembers them, seems MIL had gotten into it with them too and forbad them the house 40 years ago. Even her own sisters have had enough of her crap and finally opted out of MIL's war-mongering. They don't speak.

Mick had never been on the receiving end of MIL's vindictive shit before, but he sees now all the tong wars with the neighbors, all the friends and relatives who'd gone missing, all of MIL's sob stories about being done wrong were just bullshit. MIL had started every one of those fights. Sure folks do boneheaded stuff sometimes, sometimes neighbors make too much noise, sometimes people are insensitive, but to MIL there is no mercy or understanding or forgiveness. Those noisy neighbors, those blabbermouthed in-laws, those cheating lying co-workers who took 5 extra minutes on their lunch break, they did all those things to MIL. On purpose! And she will get even. She will have her way and only her way. And she's never wrong. Never! Not once has she ever apologized to anyone (except Mick one time, lucky him). Not once has she ever said sorry for anything she's done. Not to her husband or siblings or any of Mick's previous girlfriends with whom she'd managed to find a lynching offense about each of them. Not to all the neighbors she's sued and called the cops on. Now it's my turn. And Mick's. WTG. MIL's finally alienated everyone.

Sad. And no wonder Mick was so angry and jaundiced about people when we met. He grew up on a steady diet of this poison. Small minded, petty, insanely harsh and hypocritical poison. SIL saw through this crap years and years ago and has made her own way. Should tell you something that we had no one to invite when we tried to make a party for the folks' 50th wedding anniversary a couple years ago. In 50 years there wasn't a single friend or relative around to celebrate with them? But there were over 100 guests at SIL's birthday party last month. SIL has her own issues, but being a petty feuding bitch isn't one of them.

Ironically hearing about MIL's penchant for picking fights and driving people off makes me feel a little better. Wasn't about me at all. It was about MIL being backed into a corner where she had the choice of admitting she'd behaved badly or cutting me dead. Of course she chose to cut me dead. She's never wrong. She's never made a mistake about her take on a situation. She's never rethought anything in her entire life.

It's said pride goes before a fall. And I tell you what, next time MIL falls down in the yard and breaks another bone she's going to find that pride is a lonely comfort. Pride isn't going to mow her lawn, shovel her snow, do her food shopping, fetch her mail, water her plants and haul her angry unforgiving butt to the doctor's.

Mick and I have already talked about this. The woman is 73 years old and has osteoporosis. He's all for letting her fumble and flounder for a while. But we've agreed that if (when) she's really stranded and needs a hand that'll we'll be there. It's not about her, it's about us and what kind of people we are. No way am I going to leave an old woman with an Alzheimer's patient husband alone with a broken leg in that cruddy shack of a house out there in the boonies to manage on her own. I don't care what she'd said or done to me. Mick agrees.

In the meantime though she can do for herself just fine. If an apology is too much for her to give me- someone who loved her and treated her like the glad welcome late-in-life mother of my lonely dreams, if her son who IS a good, good man and my son who enjoyed her company and had taken her into his heart as another grandma, if we aren't worthy enough or important enough to her to bend a little and do something kind and loving in return...well, that's on her.

Tonight in this house, our drama-free zone, we're going to have meatloaf. And sit at table and josh and joke and discuss events large and small and be glad of one another as we always do.

One last thing? MIL has a chain across her driveway and a big 'No Trespassing' sign at each corner of her property. Her house is always locked up tight and she never answers the phone unless she recognizes the number on Caller ID. Here the yard is shaggy, the row of reclaimed arborvitae stumps is the only fence, and mounted above the porch between the 2nd storey windows is a 7' tall peace sign wrapped in twinkle lights.

Just sayin', ~LA

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