Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Metaphorical Dust

DH and I got pregnant very early on in our relationship. Truth be told, we had only a few brief moments of surprise before we succumbed to excitement and joy. Our pregnancy was never something to be ashamed or afraid of, we always had a sense that, even though it happened as quickly as it did, the pregnancy was something to be happy about. When it came time to tell the parental units, the reactions of both sets, mine and his, were strikingly different.

We showed up at NMIL's house to tell her the news - our arrival had been prefaced by two phone calls from DH; the first to ask if we could stop over to talk, the second to inform her that we were on our way. During the second phone call, NMIL kept trying to get him to give us a reason for the visit and what we wanted to talk to her about. Like a true gossip monger and drama queen, NMIL seemed eager to hear our news, I think, because she wanted to pass it out like Halloween candy in order to soak up the NS she'd get from her cult of followers. She actually guessed the news over the phone, saying, "You guys aren't pregnant, are you?" But I had already advised DH to just keep repeating, "Mom, it's not appropriate to discuss this now, we'll talk to you once we get there." I found it slightly disturbing at the time that she had reacted in such a way - as though whatever news her son wished to share was just a juicy bit of gossip, rather than an important life-changing event, opportunity, or decision. It was as though we were celebrities coming to her house, rather than her son and his girlfriend. It was more than annoying that she wouldn't even entertain our request to wait until we got to her house to tell her the news. Actually, I felt rather uneasy in the car on the ride there, knowing that she wasn't respecting our needs as to the circumstances under which we wanted to speak with her.

When we arrived, we noticed that NMIL's boyfriend was there. DH was disappointed that his mother had invited him over knowing full-well that we were coming to share some private news with her. I also thought it was a rather uncomfortable scenario and wondered about her intentions - she had known we were coming over for several hours and it was not at all appropriate for her boyfriend of a few months to be present. How is that for some serious boundary-crossing? I figured she did invited her boyfriend on purpose, to make us more uncomfortable and to give herself and audience for whatever performance she had planned. She was also dressed, I kid you not, in what appeared to be clothing from her daughter's wardrobe. She had on a jean mini-skirt and a tie-dye t-shirt that hung off of one shoulder. I remember wondering if DH noticed how his mother was dressed and if it embarrassed him. I was embarrassed for him. It was something of a trippy experience to be telling this forty-something year old woman who was dressed like a teenager that she was going to be a grandmother. I didn't find her appearance attractive.

We requested to speak with her in private and she obliged. DH handed her a photo from the ultrasound and said something to the effect of, "This is your grandchild." I don't recall her looking at the photograph before she threw open the door, shouted, "I was right boyfriend's nickname!" and ran back to where her loverboy was waiting in the kitchen, leaving DH and I in a cloud of metaphorical dust. I looked at DH, laughing a bit out of discomfort and then shared a sort of puzzled moment with him. It was not at all like any sort of reaction that I had imagined, and neither one of us knew what to say. We just stood there and blinked at each other stuttering, "Uh. Uh. Okay. Uh." before heading to the kitchen.

And, after being there for over an hour, we NEVER got any sort of "normal" reaction. Instead, there was a comment, "Can I text NMIL's friend?" to which DH replied, "You have to ask Jonsi" and I said reluctantly, "I guess so." I hadn't yet met the friend she mentioned and knew only that she was one of NMIL's best friends. Once again, I felt more like I had just presented a piece of gossip, rather than the most wonderful news of our lives.

DH and I having a baby became all about NMIL. During the course of the conversation, she told us, "I'm too young to be a grandmother. Can the baby call me NMIL's name?" Right. At the time, I was mostly bewildered. What kind of a fruitcake wants her grandchild to call her by name? It didn't take me long to realize that this pitiful little narcissistic woman would make E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G about her if given the opportunity. I knew from early on that I would do everything in my power to make sure she didn't have many such opportunities. I don't believe that people deserve my respect, if respect means I have to let them walk all over me and my loved ones. This woman is not, nor has she ever been, a grandmother and I have no problem with my children calling her by her first name when they speak with or about her. That is her choice, she said it herself, and so far as I can tell, has never had a change of...mind. It would be inaccurate for me to say I believe she is in possession of a heart - any heart she has must be some shriveled up shadow of a thing, that has long since been out of use.

Something else I remember: We stayed at NMIL's house for a few hours after we shared our news and, though the memory gets a bit foggy after her initial reaction, I do recall NMIL and her boyfriend trying to give us advice about our..."situation." While NMIL giggled and clung to him like a giddy school girl, her boyfriend made insinuations about how she looked good in a bikini while sipping a glass of red wine and sharing his own story...which was nothing like ours. He started off by talking about how he'd had a one-night stand with some woman that resulted in a daughter that he was currently trying to reconnect with. He then went on to talk about his other children and how he didn't get to see them as often as he liked. We didn't realize it until later, but DH and I have reason to believe that Mr. Swanky Frank was having an affair with Ms. Tie-Dye T-Shirt. At one point during the advice session, she asked her boyfriend how old his youngest child was. And after he answered, she said something like, "Oh, it makes me feel better to imagine that your youngest child is older than that." Eew.

But, Dear Reader, I have gotten ahead of myself. I realize that the story unfolding so far may not be evidence enough that this woman has never had our best interests at heart or that she is a slimy excuse for a human being. All I ask is that you keep this story in mind as we continue our journey. I believe that you will See all there is to see, as I shine the light on the Monster under our bed.

5 comments:

  1. wow. I'd love to hear how your parents reacted. how totally textbook N! nothing about how you're feeling, when you're due, if you'll marry before or after. what a let down.

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  2. Ah, a post about my parent's reaction is coming right up, Upsi!

    What a let down indeed. I believe that was precisely the feeling that DH expressed to me after we told his mother the news. He was very disappointed that she wasn't genuinely excited for us. She was too wrapped up in her own Nescapades to genuinely be interested in what was going on in our lives.

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  3. I read this and I think, "she's not a grandmother. She doesn't deserve to be a grandmother."

    A Fruitcake indeed...among other things.

    Dear Husband

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  4. Oh, she was genuinely excited, all right, but not for you, only for her! Neither of you existed in her little scenario except as a way to have an excuse to giggle and cling to her boyfriend, text her 'friends,' etc.

    This is such a clear and therefore helpful description of this behavior. I laughed out loud at your great phrase: "as I shine the light on the Monster under our bed."

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  5. @Anon - You're right, she was excited, because to her, it was all drama. She was behaving worse than a teenager who had jut gotten some juicy bit of gossip to share with all of her friends. It really seemed like she was happy that she'd get to be the center of attention. Like, "Hey, everybody, I've got the scoop, look at me! Look at me!" She wasn't excited FOR us, as you pointed out. She was excited that she'd get all the attention and use our pregnancy as Narcissistic Supply. Good catch!

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