I haven’t written a lot about my husband’s parents – with the exception with one post on adoption, I haven’t ventured into this subject. Just like all writer’s, I have made choices what to write about and what not to write about. What to share about my personal life and what not to share.
I feel that sharing about my family – as in, my parents, the death of my mom and sister, my siblings, etc. – is my territory. Or, another way to put it, is that it is my sandbox, I can build and change or even blow up the castle as I see fit. Simply because it is my life, it is also my decision what to share. Yes, I know some of my family members might be hurt by what I’ve said, but I also believe, when the time come that I tell them about this blog, they will also understand.
For example, even though I have shared stories about being forgotten or about being hurt by my dad’s version of support, I think my Dad would get it. He would know that my comments are not based out of hate, but rather based purely out of my interpretation of events. I think he might be hurt at first, but I think he’d also appreciate the honesty in my feelings and my emotions. Hopefully he’d see it as a way to see my inner workings a bit better, a way to know me better. And eventually, he would be okay with it.
I hope by explaining my choices about who I write about, I can also explain my choices about who I have not written about – specifically, my husband’s side of our family.
I have not written about my husband’s parents very much, largely because I do not see them as my family. While, technically I am part of their extended family since I married their son and I chose to share their last name, I do not feel that I am part of the family both due a mix of their choices not to be inclusive of me over the years and due to my choices to be hurt by it. I exist at the very edge of their sandbox, and as such it is not necessarily my place to write about said sandbox. As far as his parents go, I’m the kid in the playground who really desperately wanted to play but was never accepted. Based on his parents behaviour, it is abundantly clear that I was never invited onto the team, I never even got called up from the minors for a tryout and one time they did their best to kick me off the team (you can be assured that if/when I ever do share that story, it’s a good one).
For years, I made a big effort to be accepted on their team. I went out of my way to be overly nice, and to fit into their definition of a girlfriend (which did not meet my personality at all). However, years ago, I cannot remember exactly when, I stopped. I no longer make any efforts to be accepted – it didn’t work when I tried and so why not at least have them dislike me for me? So, I decided it was more important to be true to myself then to be someone else in an effort to try to be accepted (which was the way I lived the rest of my life since the age of 14). Funny enough, they still didn’t like the real me, but at least I do and my husband does as well.
(I do feel the need to digress quickly and state that my brother-in-law and his wife are amazing not only as family members, but also just as people. I adore them and would chose them as friends even if there was no family connection. My brother-in-law has an infectious ability to tell a story that captivates an audience in a way that I’ve never experienced before. My sister-in-law has a heart of gold, a moral compass much like my own, and gives oddly giant hugs much beyond her small stature. They have been accepting of me and just generally wonderful for all the years I have been around. As well, it is my perception that the other daughter-in-law has also never been accepted into the sandbox, and so after years of frustration and heartache, I now believe that their treatment of me is not about me personally but rather about something much different and probably requires a psychologist or two to figure out).
Anyways, back to the point, writing about my husband’s family. It is one thing for me to potentially mess up my family relationships more than they already are, but it is a completely different thing for me to potentially mess up my husband’s family relationships.
I actually have a lot to say about his family, but so far I have chosen to pushed the mute button because I know that if I go there, we have to be prepared to deal with the consequences should I ever associate my blog and writing with my real name (and there is a decent chance of that happening one day). So, even though we have to go there with my family, it feels entirely different to force us to go there with his family. And, with his family (unlike mine), we have a lot more fear that they would not understand and the damage would be catastrophic and quite possibly irreparable. And, how do I do that to my husband? Yes, he, knows his family is not perfect, we share a lot of the same opinions when it comes to both our families, but it’s not my place to be his voice and while I am in no way trying to be his voice, I am afraid that my writing will be interpreted by his family as his voice. When in fact, clearly, my writing is just that, my writing. My opinions, my thoughts, my stories, my emotions, my memories.
So, why am I sharing this now? Why am I telling you all about my husband’s family and my reluctance to write about them? Well, his parents are visiting this weekend. They live a quick airplane ride away and make very little effort to visit us (they went three solid years without a single visit, and since we called them out on it, this will be there second visit in one year). They are spending the weekend with us which means I have to be nice; hide our struggles with RPL (they do not know about it and we are definitely not ready to tell them); pretend we are one happy family while ignoring the unwanted giant white elephant in the room (note that in this analogy I am the white elephant); and, play nice in the sandbox even though I’m only allowed in a tiny little corner of it. I will walk on egg shells all weekend, I will feel out of sorts for most of the weekend and ultimately I will feel uncomfortable in my own home.
I accept this for what it is, and I no longer try to change the situation or their perceptions of me. They will be who they are, just as I will be who I am. I believe I am a pretty decent person and I love their son more than anything I the world. If this isn’t good enough, then it simply isn’t my problem anymore. Acceptance doesn’t mean I like it, but it does mean that while visits may be a challenge, it no longer effects our day-to-day lives in the same way it used to. We are at peace with the situation and continue to lead out lives the way we see fit.
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