My mother threw me a baby shower at the end of August in 2009. The decorations were fun and whimsical, the food delicious, and most of the company, supportive. Even though the skies in the morning looked a little grey, the weather turned out to be sunny-side-up, so it was held outside on my mom's patio. It was a buffet-style brunch, and felt more like a fun party than a baby shower. I've never been one to enjoy habitual traditions, I find typical shower games, like baby bingo and pin the diaper on the baby, to be outdated, overrated, and boring. Hint: I didn't go to my high school senior prom and I have no regrets about that. Hint: I didn't go to my college graduation ceremony and I think school reunions are pathetic. Hint: I didn't have a bachelorette party. If other people enjoy these events, that doesn't bother me in the slightest, I've just always had a problem with the idea that the hype should be worth my time, just because everyone else makes it worth theirs. So, needless to say, the baby shower was everything I wanted it to be and nothing I didn't.
I wanted to point out that I enjoyed my baby shower, because I've never believed that NMIL ruined any of our big events with her immaturity or guilt-peddling. I imagine that she wanted to and had high hopes that she did. But her attempts at crashing my party, on any level, represented nothing more than a slight hindrance. More than anything, I took these occasions to observe her behavior and learn from them, rather than get angry or annoyed. I found that if I paid more attention to her behaviors and the potential motives behind them, then I didn't feel as upset about what she was doing. It was a big deal, believe me, but not so much that I would have allowed her petty narco antics to ruin my good time.
But Dear Reader, would you like to know how she attempted to do that? Let's take a look, shall we?
About a month before the event, and a few days before she would receive the invitation, NMIL contacted DH, via email, to ask this:
Tue, Jul 28, 2009
…as the other Gramma of Baby Jonsi, I would like to get something big but you have to tell me what that is – you know like the stroller or car seat or crib or something. That’s what Grammas do – well they knit things too but I don’t really knit (smiley face)
My first thought? "Gramma" has no idea what it takes to be a grandparent. "Grammas" may very well knit and buy expensive things for their grandchildren; but their most important job, and the only requirement I have of them, is to love. I felt as though, if she were capable of honesty, it would have read, "That's what Gramma's do - well, they love their grandchildren too, but I don't really love. (Smiley face)" That's so much more accurate. Creepier, but depressingly accurate. I already knew what this woman was capable of, and what she was not. And she was no more capable of being a loving grandmother, than she had been a loving mother or a respectful future MIL. So her idea of being a "Gramma" meant buying the biggest, most expensive gift on our registry in order to show her "love." She was all about the showmanship, the facade. Of course she wanted to be privy to information about the "biggest" item on our registry - she just wanted to show up all of the other guests. You know, the bigger the gift, the bigger her "love." Whelp, I decided, that wasn't any kind of love we were looking for.
DH's response to NMIL's question was this:
Tues, July 28, 2009
Well she is registered at Store 1 and Store 2, and I think one of the things on [the registry] is a stroller/car seat, thing. I don't know. But look there for starters. And you can give it to us at the baby shower.
She responded, Ok, will do. XOXOXOXOXOXO
DH didn't know that my mother and aunt had already purchased the most expensive item on my registry (ie the stroller/car seat thing). I registered with my mother and best friend, both of whom went out the very next day to get first "dibs" on whatever they wanted to buy for me before the invitations went out. Now, sometimes, store registries have glitches and it doesn't show up online when a person purchases something off of the list. However, we know for a fact that the registry was accurate because my mother and several other family members went on to check after they made their purchases. NMIL DID know that the big gift she had her eye on had already been purchased. Keep this in mind, Dear Reader, as the story continues to unfold.
NMIL didn't RSVP for the shower until three days before. That's right Dear Reader, the woman who claimed to have our best interests at heart and who "loved her son" dearly, was the very last person to respond to our invitation. Why? Let's take a gander at her possible motives: 1. She was miffed that we didn't ask her for help, in any way. She was not involved in the planning or preparations for my shower, and therefore wanted to make it known that we got under her skin. Like a child sulking, she used her actions to say, "I can't have my way? Fine then, I'll just go sit in the corner here until you come get me." We didn't go get her. That probably made her angrier. 2. She intended to hurt DH by showing him that she didn't care about his wife-to-be, the mother of his child. She wanted it to be perfectly clear that anything that came out of me was something to be ignored. 3. She was too afraid to call my mother. NMIL is a very small woman, Dear Reader, and I don't mean in stature. If she is afraid of me, she's terrified of my mother. And that's who she had to work up the courage to call in order to say she would be in attendance. And I'll tell you now, no such courage ever came. She called all right, but not because she found some inner strength that allowed her to do so.
Naunt was the second to last person to call in her attendance to the event. My mom described the short conversation to me:
Naunt (in little girl voice) - Hello...is this Jonsi's mom's name?
Mom - Yes it is, may I ask who is calling?
Naunt - Oh, yes, this is Naunt's name, DH's Aunt. I'm just calling to say I'll be attending Jonsi's baby shower.
Mom - Alright, we'll see you then.
Naunt - Oh, but, you see, I just have a question about, um, well I wanted to know if it would be alright if my daughter came? Um, will there be any other children there? She was, you see she's just so excited to, um, she wants to come and...
Mom - Oh, we don't usually have children at these events so there won't be any other children her age here. But she is welcome to come.
Naunt - Oh, no that's alright. I'll tell her. Okay. Then it will just be NMIL and I coming.
Mom - (Pause) Oh. Is she coming?
Naunt - Oh yes! She didn't call you yet?
Mom - No, I haven't heard from her.
Naunt - Oh! Well yes. We're coming together.
Mom - I see. Well, we'll see you then.
A few moments later, the phone rang. It was NMIL. My mom said NMIL spoke with the same little girl voice. She had a laughable excuse. You might want to sit down for this one, Dear Reader. I don't want you to be knocked down by the sheer ridiculousness of it:
Mom - We hadn't heard from you so we assumed you weren't coming.
NMIL - Oh, of course I'm coming. And, well, you see, I was so excited about the shower...I forgot to call.
So excited, she forgot to call! Oh, Dear Readers, isn't that rich? Good stuff. What a quality excuse right there. Really, she should get an academy award. What brilliance! Oh, wipe the tear from my eye, it's that moving. I'm surprised she doesn't fool EVERYONE with her sheer creativity. Oh! That mad genius! And to think, all that time, I thought she wasn't happy for us. Oh, how wrong I was!
It is truly amazing to me that she fools as many people as she does. Are people that stupid, or just wildly afraid to see the Truth? Anyway, she finished her RSVP on the note that she and her daughter would be in attendance.
Two days before the baby shower, NMIL again contacted DH via email:
Fri, Aug 28, 2009
The gift I have for you and Jonsi is in a HUGE box – do you want me to keep it till [sic] end of October till [sic] right before Baby is born? You don’t have any room for it really yet...it’s up to you honey!!!
Sat, Aug 29, 2009
What? No, of course not, it's a baby shower present, it [sic] supposed to be given at the shower. We'll figure out something to do with it...Thanks though!
See you soon!
Have you guessed what's going on here yet, Dear Reader? Well, if you've figured out that she bought the big gift anyway, even though she knew it had already been purchased, and was trying to get us to take it prior to the shower so that she could say she was the "first" one to give it to us, and possibly so that she could avoid the embarrassment of showing up to the shower with a gift that everyone knew had already been bought...then you would be correct.
NMIL showed up to the shower, with her HUGE gift, but without her daughter-dearest in tow, most likely because she only forces her to be a human shield when she knows she isn't going to be surrounded by her other cronies. She knew she was "safe" because her own sister would be there, she didn't need her daughter. Of course, that's not what she said to us about why DH's sister wasn't in attendance. What she said to us about it was...nothing.
So, there you have it, my Dear Reader. More evidence that this woman is more phony than a three dollar bill, and unwilling to see the Truth.