Postcard from Shallott

I was forced to slow down today, as over the past 48 hours my BPs crept up into the Red Alert zone – the highest reading was last night, at 150/101.  So not good.  Part of it has been the deadline-induced panic to get Stuff done – sorting papers and files, supervising some household projects, making arrangements for an alternative place for my parents to stay after the baby comes home… plus some more GRANDMA DRAMA.  Meaning my MIL.  This morning I kind of had a meltdown, after we spent all day yesterday negotiating back and forth about sharing out the child care – her complaining that she hasn’t seen V. all week and so looks forward to the weekends when she can spend more time with her – my wanting to honor that, as well as honor my mother’s desire to spend time with V., and my own desire to be with her – and V’s need for regular routine, and my automatic politeness/deference towards my MIL (strongly socialized through my South American upbringing) – and my MIL’s passive-aggressive way of getting her own way 99% of the time (I’ve watched this play out over and over again in the 10 years that I’ve been observing her interactions with her husband and son).  Last night I couldn’t sleep until finally I decided what the hell, she can have V. all day if she wants, and I called her this morning to come pick up V. around 8 – prompted by my still-high blood pressure, plus V. climbing all over me while I lay on the couch.  After she came and they left, I checked e-mail and found a loooong message from her saying basically that she was ok with my mom watching V. today since blah blah blah – I just started crying, just so tired of all the back and forth negotiating and weighing everybody’s feelings. My mom soothed me and I said “I feel so stupid crying about this,” and she said “it’s just the release of the tension you’ve been feeling” and she was so right.  She sat and talked me down and prayed with me and after a while we started talking about diapers and how to help V. adjust to the new sibling and whatnot and I just felt so much better.

I am so glad my mom is here.

My MIL is just kind of high strung – wound tight – high energy – and loves to endlessly negotiate even the most simple of decisions (e.g. pot roast or salmon for dinner tonight?  What would everybody else like?) – but this exhausts me.  I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m a “good enough, just go for it” decision-maker while she needs to maximize every single thing – what is the best possible alternative?  It really and truly comes from a good place in her heart, but wow it wears me out.

And she’s sad about us moving to Albania in a few months and already misses V, her first and only grandchild.  Baby boy will be her second.  For years – decades, really – she’s had to ooh and ah over her siblings’ and friends’ grandchildren and even great-grandchildren – her oldest sister has something like NINE great-grands – whereas until 2 years ago MIL had none, none at all.  I imagine it felt a lot like IF.  Her son didn’t marry until 35, and then didn’t have kids for 8 more years.  Her daughter is still single and at 42 now has made the decision not to pursue parenthood.  Whereas MIL’s older sister had her first child at 20, he had a child at 20, and so on.  It’s highly likely that older sister will live to see at least one great-great-grandchild.  I know this has been hard for MIL.

That knowledge doesn’t always make it easier for me to deal with her foibles in the day-to-day although it does give me perspective.


2 Responses to “Postcard from Shallott”

  1. LuckyOnce Says:

    You are truly a good person for being so selfless at a time when you have every right to be selfish, and for understanding (even a little bit) about how your MIL might feel. Keeping my fingers crossed for you that the blood pressure comes down a little and you continue to be able to feel a little more peaceful.

  2. tara Says:

    o yikes- i’m sorry your bp is up again but the stress of everything can’t be helping. i hope you can find some space just to say that you need to put yourself first right now and while that might mean that you make ‘good enough’ decisions that you just can’t continue to do this. HUGS sweetie.

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