Discovering Me

Me on having babies, losing babies, trying to have babies and hoping to bring this one home.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Old Bat

Some of you might remember some of the antics my mother-in-law has pulled over the years. She is by far the most negative, selfish and sometimes mean-spirited person I know. She literally thinks that the world revolves around her. It's always been that way for her. She was the only woman in a house of six. Her husband had her on a pedestal so high that no one could ever have reached her or knocked her down and anyone who tried had to suffer his wrath for doing so. In short, she's nuts.


She's never had a relationship with any of her 10 grandkids. They all have memories of her being mean to them as kids. Their parents all have memories of things she did and said. All of that is very interesting to me because she was a mother tiger with her boys. I don't know that I fully understand that dynamic, but suffice it to say that no one interfered with her family when her boys were at home. I will say they all remember her as a tyrant. The Benevolent Dictator they called her. Even then much of what went on was about her.

Jim tells stories of birthday presents being returned to the store while he was in school, buying tampons for his mother at 13 (and the girl at the register happened to be the cutest girl in school), according to Jim's brothers, she had screaming and crying jags that sometimes resulted in things being pitched out of the second story window of their house. The funniest thing about all that is not only does it not scratch the surface of the shit she pulled, but until Jim & I married and he spent time with my family, he thought his family was totally normal. Crazy how that works.

Jim's dad was dying when I was pregnant with Gracie. Jim has always known that the relationship his parents has with the grandkids wasn't all that great, but he attributed that to the fact that the kids all live on the other side of the country and his parents were never great travelers. So while I was pregnant, Jim convinced himself that his dad was hanging on to see *his* daughter born. That knowing Jim's daughter was coming was somehow keeping his dad alive. Gracie was born on January 27, 2003 and his dad would enter hospice care the next week. We got permission from the pediatrician to travel with her and we were planning on going to see them so his dad could see and meet Gracie. Jim called his dad to say were were coming and he was told in no uncertain terms that we were not all to come. That only Jim was to come. Jim was crestfallen. It broke his heart that his daughter was born and he just wanted to shout it from the rooftops, but his dying father had no desire to meet her. He went alone and I was left with a week old baby by myself for the next 2 weeks. His dad died on February 24, 2003.

That began the real unrest between myself and Jim's mother. She had been nasty to me plenty of times before and his parents had certainly been very invasive in our relationship, but that was the beginning of the end for me. My three sisters-in-law spent 20 years of their marriages not saying anything to her about her attitude, but I was done. I very seldom let her off the hook anymore. She and I have had several knock-down drag outs that usually result in my packing our shit a fews days early and telling Jim he can stay, but the car leaves in an hour. God bless my husband, because he has never missed that departure. He always stands up for me. I love him for that.

and now back to our regularly scheduled program~~~~~~

So, this last weekend, the Old Bat pulled her last stunt on my watch. She spent the entire weekend alternately making one person or another cry (mostly the grand daughters as she seems to pick on them the most). I stayed away from her as much as possible, and tried to keep my mouth shut as much as possible, although I did let her have it from time to time.

Nothing is ever good enough. She won't pick where she wants to go eat, but you can bet she will bitch her head off about where we end up. She complained that the wedding site was too far away (30 minutes), she complained that it was too 'over the top' (it wasn't even close and it was such a beautiful place). She complained the music was too loud (hello...WEDDING RECEPTION!). From the time we got to the reception she was asking to leave. She sat at a table with her arms crossed pouting like a 5 year-old. It was unreal.

So, Gracie was an angel the entire trip except for when she was dragged off of the dance floor so we could take the Old Bat home so she wouldn't absolutely ruin the event for the Bride and Groom. Gracie cried (she's 3, it's allowed) on the walk to the car, but the sight of a couple of deer dried her tears pretty quickly given the circumstances.

The Cousins (who are all 19-26) doted on her in a huge way, the Aunts and Uncles did the same. Gracie was the center of attention and the Old Bat was having none of it.

She spent her weekend sequestering small groups of the 30 or so of us present and trying to tell them all how awful Gracie was. That she is a 'horrible brat', that if we don't get her behavior under control we are 'in for it'. She tried telling everyone what a terror she was and how we as parents were ruining her by letting her sleep with us...It went on and on. At various time throughout the weekend we had various family members come to us to report the Old Bat's antics.

By Sunday night, Jim & I had had it. Neither of us even came downstairs Monday morning to see her off to the airport. I told Jim that she would see my daughter once a year, if she was lucky. Through tears I told him and his brothers that I didn't understand why a 75 year old woman would be so nasty to an innocent child. That's what it all boils down to; she's nasty. She did it all because she wanted the attention that others were paying to Gracie. I'm done with her. She's still his Mother, but I'd be willing to be she sees him less now too.

I could tell stories that would curl your toes. She's just that crazy. But, I would just like to end it with this little tidbit. The Old Bat claims to be deathly allergic to animals. The funny thing is that she only has these reactions when she knows there have been animals present. There have been plenty of times when she was told there were no animals and magically there were no ill-affects.

I'm getting a cat. I'm naming her Insurance. Insurance that the Old Bat never comes to my house again.


  • At 2:14 PM , Blogger Catherine said...

    Oh.My.God! That made me laugh out loud! Insurance!

    Your MIL and mine should have tea they can plot the overthrow of the world. Evil...I've seen it too.


  • At 2:28 PM , Blogger JMB said...

    I couldn't help but let out an evil giggle-I love the thought (and the name!)!! Good for you to stand up to her. The only thing worse than having to be around her is just sitting and taking it from her. Get the! ;)

  • At 3:27 PM , Blogger Kathy McC said...

    OMG...and I thought my mother was bad. I am so sorry for you.

  • At 6:36 PM , Blogger Lorem ipsum said...

    Oh Michelle, that is just horrible. I don't know how come you aren't emailing from custody, having been arrested for murder. Or did they already release you?

  • At 4:45 AM , Blogger Sarah said...

    Wow, how horrible. She sounds like she deserves to have someone (sorry it has to be you!) stand up and make her realize that her actions are not acceptable!

  • At 5:57 AM , Blogger Laura said...

    Oh Jesus. What a piece of work. I'm so sorry that you have to deal with that crap and I can't believe that she so horrible to little Gracie. Who can be mean to a 3 year old? Yuck.

  • At 9:08 AM , Blogger Levi's Mommy said...

    That last line made me laugh outloud!
    I have one of those *lovely* mother-in-laws too. Shall we book them a no-return trip together to some obscure island and let them duke it out the rest of their lives?

  • At 10:21 AM , Blogger kate said...

    Yeah, go for the cat!

    My dh is the one who has the real MIL problem -- your MIL rivals my mom, though. Perhaps we should get them together and they could compete to see whose life (and grandkid) is worse.

  • At 3:22 PM , Blogger formerteacher said...

    You know my ILs are freaks, so I understand oh too well what you are up against! I love how you stuck up for Gracie and yourself. That was something I had a hard time doing. When the 'event' happened last year with my ILS, I told hubby that I, as well as our boys, were not seeing them again EVER. And we haven't. Some people don't deserve the good family they've got. Maybe if your MIL had no one to kick around, she'd stop being such a bitch. Enough is enough.


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