Monday, April 6, 2015

Why Can't Adults Behave During a Holiday Meant for Children?

We didn't celebrate Easter last year. We were still between houses. All my stuff, and all my holiday decorations, were in storage. This year, I wanted to make up for it.

Except the boys' mother got them on Friday. I thought she'd have them the whole weekend and thus I had plenty of time to get Easter baskets. Instead, she bought them back at noon on Saturday.

Will asked his parents to get Easter baskets. I thought they'd go to town before the boys came home and I could slip next door after the kids were in bed. But my in-laws didn't go anywhere. The boys came home and we still didn't have baskets or candy or anything. So I told Will Easter really should come from the parents anyway, and I wanted to do the baskets. I told him my mother always put M&M's in my Easter basket and I wanted to start some tradition like that. He agreed, we got a babysitter, and away we went.

We spent over $50 on candy and toys. We were buying for two, and we wanted it to be nice. While we were shopping, my mother-in-law called to say she was buying baskets. I told her we already had stuff to put in the baskets, but we didn't have actual baskets or Easter grass because both the stores we went to had sold out. And I guess she was pissed off that we changed the plan, but we did tell her before we left what we were doing and why.

I guess she was mad at being excluded, or maybe she decided to do the cheapest thing possible. At first she had a 'craft project' for making baskets which I was okay with because I thought she was going to do an activity with the boys. But no, she was going to decorate plastic ice cream buckets. I told her we got a lot of stuff and I didn't think it would all fit in a little bucket. I asked if she wanted to make Easter bags. If she had Easter themed fabric, or fabric in the boys' favorite colors, she could stitch on their names and rabbits and that would be something special from grandma. She agreed.

I realized I had already had fabric tote bags I made to sell. I took her the bags, she said she liked them, and I thought it all worked out- they were hand-made, easy to add decorations to, Grandma still gets to participate, and I know everything is going to fit. This was at 5pm Saturday.

At 8:30 I call to ask if she finished the bags. She hadn't even started. She had been searching for a rabbit pattern. For 3 and half hours? She said she had the names but that was it. I thought the names were stitched on. She painted them on and I still couldn't put anything in the bags because the paint was wet. My husband and I were up till midnight trying to get everything ready for Easter morning.

But wait, there's more. The next problem was lunch. And dinner. We finally settled on grilled hot dogs for lunch and pork loin for supper. At 11:15 my husband decided he wanted ribs. We didn't have ribs. He was willing to go to the store. That meant I had to take over grilling. He said I should go. I asked what was open besides Wal-Mart and he got mad, said just forget it. I thought the rib thing was stupid because we had plenty of food cooking, it would be hours before the ribs were ready, he wouldn't be eating with us which was sort of why we were doing all this holiday cooking so we could eat together as a family, and we had supper planned out so why add anything else. Then I discovered we were out of hot dog buns so it looked like I was going to the store anyway. My mother-in-law called to see when we were eating and during that conversation tells me she has hot dog buns. Okay, cool, I don't have to go to a store. She says when the potato salad was done she's bring over buns. Wait. I thought the potato salad was going with the pork loin. What I should have realized then was she had already changed the dinner menu but I was so happy I didn't have to go anywhere I let it slide.

At 12 I go in the kitchen to set up chips, drinks, mustard, ketchup...and I discover the buns are frozen. I was still mad at my husband, then I find out the main food isn't edible. I always thought if you were bringing food to a party that food was ready to eat when you arrived and if, God forbid, it wasn't, then you gave the hostess a head's up so that she could correct the problem. I put the buns in the oven thinking they would evenly heat up without a soggy or cold spot.

Will comes in a plate full of grilled hotdogs and sausage. He announces it's ready. I tell him the buns are frozen, I put them in the oven, we'll eat when they thaw. And my mother-in-law says, "Don't you have a microwave?"

Excuse me? You bring unprepared food at the last minute then take offense at how I chose to cook it? I told her if she wanted to get hotdog buns out of the oven and put them in the microwave to go for it. She got mad at me and left without saying a word to anyone. Bill left immediately to find out why his wife disappeared. The boys, being hungry, ate hotdogs without buns. Will got pissed off about having enough food for 12 people and no one eating. He decided we would have hotdogs for supper and put the pork loin back in the fridge.

I'd like to tell you this was an isolated case, but we had the same problem during Thanksgiving. It was supposed to be a simple dinner, but my mother-in-law invited lots of people who weren't family, asked what I wanted on the menu and then cooked whatever she thought was best. Any time I pointed out she wasn't sticking to the plan she acted as if I was being unreasonable. I don't really see the point of asking a person what plans they have made if you intend to run over them to get your own way. This morning she asked if I 'felt better' as if all the irritation and anger was a result of me being pregnant or diabetic. I really don't want to spend another holiday with my in-laws. Ever. 


Jeanne said...

I've been down that road many, many times. Then I moved away from the offending family....

FreeDragon said...

We decided to celebrate alone and not invite anyone. If they show up, they'll have to make do with what we have. If they decide to do something on their own, we will not participate and will either send the boys over after we finish our celebration or we will simply decline and stay home. My husband says we can't depend on his parents for anything. Apparently he has been dealing with this problem for many years and I am the only one of his wives who refuses to get caught up in the drama. My mother NEVER attended any gathering at her in-law's and only now am I understanding why.

Kenneth Roberts said...


Jeanne said...

My mom once said that the best thing a young married couple do was to move away from family. At first I thought that was a terrible thing to say and then I discovered how true that statement was.
When we did end up living close to family once more, I stood my ground when it came to events, presents, etc. My MIL wasn't happy but she eventually got over it. Wishing you all the best with the family matters.