Monday, August 9, 2010

The Gift of Support

And so it happened that my in-laws were watching the dog on a particularly busy day that summer. Roc had to run here and there to do some NYPD stuff and I had classes and clients to attend to; I asked them if she could come to the business that day, and then pick her up after work at their house. The answer was a resounding Yes. I was lucky they always wanted to watch her.
However, there was a whole lot of stuff bubbling up inside me. Stuff I just couldn't keep in any more. So I decided to confront them that night.
I walked in and realized they had just finished dinner. The dog was excited to see me, and once she settled in a little, I pulled out a chair and sat down while they lingered over coffee.
"Do you want some coffee?" My mother-in-law, the coffee addict of the Universe, offered me coffee as if it was essential to daily life.
"No, I'm good. I actually want to talk to you." I leveled my gaze at her in particular, then looked at my father-in-law too. He must have known I was serious, because he grabbed the remote for the infernal kitchen television and shut the volume off.
I took a deep breath and dove in. "I want to ask you guys for a little more support the second time around. Roc is just weeks away from re-entering the Academy, and I already feel his anxiety beginning to ramp up. I'm going to ask that if you have any problems with the business, that you put them on hold for the first few days. If you feel overwhelmed, you can call me, as I will gladly jump in and help you." I didn't know much about the business by choice, but I knew I could always jump in and answer phones or do some mundane work if it was needed.
At this point, my mother-in-law was giving me the daggers. Have I mentioned yet that my husband is the Second Coming of Christ? Add that to the fact that I don't think I am what she had in mind, and well...I may not be on her Favorite Person List.
I didn't care.
I forged on ahead, explaining about how I knew that if he didn't finish, he would regret it for the rest of his life. I expressed that I was not thrilled to pieces about the decision, but that I was going to support his decision no matter what.
And that I expected them to do the same. Period.
"How do you want me to support him?!" My mother-in-law was acting as if I was an insane person, asking for her internal organs, or for her to participate in a bank heist.
"Like I said...don't bombard him with work stuff. At least, not right away. Help me to help him. Believe me, you don't want him to resent you and regret this." I gave her my no-nonsense look.
"Well," and she had the offended look down-pat, "I don't know what you're talking about. I already bought him his graduation present! Of course I support him!"
I looked at her as if she had completely lost her mind. I wasn't talking about presents here.
And I realized I was getting nowhere.


  1. I just discovered your blog--glad I did! I can almost feel the room get chilly as I read your confrontation with his mom. I don't think my mother-in-law is my biggest fan either, and it must be some kind of curse that mothers- and daughters-in-law will always feel in some kind of competition for the son's or husband's affection.

    You held your own, though. You're my new hero! I hope it's enough to give her the message. Is it a family business that she keeps dragging your husband into while he's trying to finish academy?

  2. Yes, it's a family business, and they specialize in guilt!!
    LOL...SCW Stella


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