Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Boys' Letters

(This one's not so funny as some of my other MIL stories. I think I still have some emotional purging to do.)

Last year, when the mother-in-law first moved out, we encouraged the kids to write to her because we knew they had been a big part of her enjoyment of living with us.
Both children happily sat down to write to Grandma. The eldest even made a card and was talking about writing to Grandma every week.

When Grandma's next envelope arrived, there were two extra notes inside, one for each child. The kids took their own little letters from Grandma and retreated to private places in the house to read them. Very exciting, getting your own letter from Grandma, you see.


Eventually, the eldest quietly brought his letter back to me and asked me to read it to him. Maybe it was the big words or Grandma's handwriting he had trouble understanding.
Or maybe he just couldn't understand why Grandma's letter had nothing to say except to point out what he had spelled wrong in the card he had written to her.

No shit.

There was nothing else she had to say to him.
Not even a thank you for writing.

The younger son didn't let me read his letter from Grandma, but when I asked him what she said, he did tell me that she sent a list of corrections to him, too.

I haven't made them send a letter to her since.
And they haven't asked to, either.

Months later, the SIL (who visits the MIL in order to clean for her, you know, the one who left the chair out) told me how much the MIL loved the letters she got from the boys.

"Yeah?" I replied. "She sure had a crappy way of showing it." And I told SIL about the letters.

SIL was stunned into jaw-dropped silence.
"But," she sputtered, "... but... she really liked hearing from the boys!"

"Well, maybe that's what she should've said."

Since then, the MIL has been way freakin' over-zealous complimenting the boys when they see her (right before she slams them with some stupid, stupid criticism... like the length of their hair or some other unimportant thing). And she simply bubbles over with hints that they should send her more stuff.

But it's too late.

She screwed herself over.

(Yup. Really looking forward to the family gathering at Thanksgiving, I am...)

1 comment:

jaj said...

Your poor boys! When I was a kid, my Dad's Mother would live with us for 3-4 weeks and then go live with her daughter for 3-4 weeks, alternating back and forth. For years this happened. And everytime she was at our house, all she ever did was compare my brother and I to our cousins - who were straight A students and did everything perfectly. And it really drove a wedge in our relationship - that side of the family is not close at all. She passed away 18 years ago and I'm relieved she isn't around to see my kids, because I know she would have a lot to say about them.

Good luck with Thanksgiving Day, and I like Lemon Stand's idea about the catalogue and clothes.