Acts of the ancient, Part I

Grandma and I were talking about the upcoming Wedding of the Century and got onto the subject of mothers-in-law. Personally, I am thankful not to have one of those any longer, since the relationship with the one I had was something less, shall we say, than an exhilarating, uplifting experience. Although it was quite a learning experience, as they say (read: I learned that no matter how hard you try, some people are determined to hate you).

“I figure I’m going to be the world’s best mother-in-law,” I told Grandma. “I decided a long time ago that I would love whatever the boys dragged home. They’ve picked really great women so far, so that’s been easy. If the girls think I’m a nutcase, they’re diplomatic about it, but I don’t think they think I’m Evil Incarnate. I hope not, anyway.”

Grandma, from whom I have not heard even the teensiest hint of unsavory language since I was 10 and playing jacks on the kitchen floor when she burned something and snapped, “Damn!”, whereupon I scuttled out of the room, gave me one of Those Looks and replied, “I’m sure they don’t. You had one hell of a bad example to learn from!”


Grandma wanted to call Snaotheus and tell him happy birthday (I didn’t go down today, despite plans, because their social schedule was too heavy), so I dialed him up on my cell phone after we finished Chinese lunch. They talked pretty well for a while, and then she started wailing that he was gone.

She was pressing the phone into the back of her head. And steadily pushing it farther and farther back.

I moved it forward, with her fighting me all the way, holding her frail little arm as stiff as she could. “Mom, you have to keep it over your ear,” I explained, and said to Snaotheus, “Yell to her!”

“GRANDMA!” he complied.

Grandma jumped nearly out of her wheelchair and stared at the phone. “I guess he is there!” she said, and immediately applied the phone to the back of her head again. I scooted it forward as unobtrusively as I could, but she kept fighting. They talked for a little bit, and then she wailed again. “He’s gone! He’s gone!”

I took the phone from her hand. She had pressed it so hard against her head that she had turned it off. Yes, turned it off.

“Grandma, you don’t have to squeeze it against your head,” I explained. “I’ll hold it by your ear and you’ll be able to hear just fine.”

“OK,” she said, but doubtfully. Got the boy back on the phone and held it in place. They talked again and had a few more difficulties. She pushed her head harder and harder into the phone so that I had to move it or risk shoving it clear into her brain through her ear. She kept pressing as hard as she could, until her head was nearly lying on the table.

“Gee whiz, if I moved the phone to the right rhythm, maybe I could get her to dance the tarantella,” I said to my accompanying friend. He snorted and nearly fell off his own chair. The nurses who were in the door snickered behind their hands.


So I took the phone away. And noticed that since she hadn’t been holding the phone, she had pressed the sidepiece of her glasses into her temple so hard she had bent it. I speculated a little on whether she thought squeezing the metal sidepiece into her brain would add to her ability to receive the phone signals. Who knows?

Posted by wordsmith


It’s an old, old, *old* saying. Typically, that’s what happens: the husband is more absorbed into the wife’s family because she’d rather spend time with her mother than his, and husbands, being fairly clueless for the most part, don’t insist that they also spend time with his mother. Your MIL sounds like a jewel. 🙂

My mom and dad adopted my ex, too, and actually treated him better than his own family did, as if he were as much their son as I was their daughter. Amazing people, those two. (Ex and I are both onlies.)

Aww…I actually had not heard that saying before. It kind of makes me sad. I wonder if my mother in law has heard that? 🙁 My husband is an only child, and he is basically all his mom has got. Nevertheless, she has taken me along as her daughter, and it has amazed me the way that she has allowed, with such grace, me to “take away” the most important person in her life.

LOL–yeah, it’s a paradox. About the time you really wish they’d come curl up with you and let you read them a good book out loud, all they want to do is run off with their buds and pretend you’re someone else’s mother. And then later, when they conceivably MIGHT allow you to read to them, they’re way too big to fit in your lap and would laugh at the idea. It’s a problem. 🙂

I certainly hope you can go to The Wedding and I’ll get to be silly enough to volunteer to play with Ducky!

I think Legge and I did the mother loses a son thing backwards then. Not surprising, we tend to find those things hard to figure out. 😛 I’m sure I”ll understand better when my kids don’t want me around 24/7. Right now I happily farm Ducky out to whomever is silly enough to volunteer.

What a great idea, Mrs. L! If we laid eggs, the daddies could help take care of them pre-birth, too. I’m sure it would be good for bonding. 😉

I guess I have to throw in a defense of MILs: As we get older, it does seem more important to have our kids nearby. As mothers of sons, that can be a bit difficult. There’s a reason the saying exists: When a daughter marries, her mother gains a son; when a son marries, his mother loses a son. (I suppose you all have never heard that.)

Hooray! I’m glad it’s going well, other than the ready-to-be-done part! I think humans should just lay eggs, much easier on the mother. Have you told us the sex of it yet? Am I losing my mind, and that’s something you did a long time ago?

I am absolutely convinced that babies need only an eight-month gestation period. That ninth month is so we’ll be so quit that we’ll endure anything to get them out. But you’re not quite at that stage yet. A bit impatient, are we? 😉

MIL thing has gotten better over the years. She’s accepted that he isn’t going live next door, and I’ve accepted that she’s never going to give up on trying to get us to live next door. 🙂
Baby baking is going well. I’ve hit the I’m Done, I Quit stage, but other than that things are better than textbook.

Snaotheus! I’m delighted! Now I can look forward to snipey, sarcastic comments from my loving son. Hah.

They’d better not go to Australia. GirlA, are you largely rolling your eyes at the MIL whining these days? How goes the baby-baking, anyway?

This new monitor makes my eyes hurt. And I still can’t change the contrast and brightness.

Mrs. Andi, that sucks. Has that gotten better since you’ve been married awhile, or gotten worse? Surely the grandchildren pressure is gone, now that you have reproduced once and have another one baking nicely.

Yes, don’t move to Australia. We watched a special yesterday about it and learned that there are killer jellyfish in the sea there. Like, INVISIBLE ones that kill you in 2 minutes with one sting!!

I guess it’ll have to do, though if she hauled him off to Australia it wouldn’t be nearly as unreasonable as it would be now. And I agree, she does seem to take pretty good care of him.

I don’t think anyone can argue that she doesn’t know how to take care of me.

Look, Ma! I can comment!

Dang, I didn’t know there were laws about it… I’m in trouble. She takes really good care of him (you should see how well he eats). She’s a sweetheart. She does tend to take his side when he’s giving me a hard time, but I can’t fault her too much for that. He only lives 100 miles away, so unless she hauls him off to the South Pole I probably will see him at least once a year, which is more often than I did until last year when they moved up here. If she wants to move to Australia, though, I may have to prepare a dramatic hissy fit. Will that suffice?

What? No evil mother-in-law plans? I thought that was required by law. At least one act of driving your child’s spouse nuts/pissing them off per year. Poor KristDi’s going to have it far too soft if you don’t plan these things in advance. I recommend badgering them about having kids, starting two weeks before the wedding, or (and this is my personal favorite) wailing on about how she’s taking your little boy away and you’ll never get to see him again, and she won’t know how to take good care of him. 😉

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