I feel like I’ve written this blog before. Oh yeah, so I have.
I feel like my in-laws try to be good people…to everyone but their son, my husband. They are ungrateful, they are selfish, they are unconcerned about his feelings. There are four children who were a part of Hub’s growing up years. Initially, after a divorce between Hub’s biological parents, there was only Hub and his younger sister. Then, years later, there was a marriage that brought in another child (a step-sister, who lived with her mother most of the time), and then shortly thereafter came a baby. THE baby of the family, who is still treated as such despite the fact that he is coming up on thirty-years-old soon. Despite the fact that he enlisted in the military, went overseas, came home with a wife and a baby on the way. He’s still the baby and he’s still coddled and taken care of. For the first years of his marriage–with subsequent child–he and his wife lived with his parents (Hub’s parents)…where all his needs were taken care of, along with the wife’s needs and the baby’s needs. Even though his housing would have been subsidized by the military (he kept that money and spent it on himself, of course), he lived with his parents for at least a year before they moved out into subsidized military housing. And at that point? His mother (Hub’s mother) took care of the baby at least five days a week, full-time with the baby living with her grandma (Hub’s mother). Prior to this, after Hub and I got married, the baby of the family was all his mother and step-father focused on…his needs, his life, his extra-curricular activities…etc. Hub was pretty much forgotten, and there was hardly any time for him in their lives.
Even when Baby Boy was overseas, Hub’s parents were too busy taking care of their own needs and traveling to see BB to spend any time with Hub. They traveled to vacation destinations, they spent time with their other children, they ignored Hub. And he so desperately wants to be important to them that it kills me how they treat him. Now, with BB living in the states full-time–with a wife who barely speaks English and now TWO children to care for–Hub’s mother basically spends all her time catering to her youngest child and her grandchildren (who are basically living with her 4-5 days a week). We’ve never been able to go out to dinner with them and/or spend any time with them without the grandchildren in tow. Which means Hub’s mother is focused on the kids and never on Hub. Even on Hub’s birthday, the kids end up going out to dinner with us and if they’re not screaming or demanding attention from Hub’s mother, then she’s showering them with affection for being “such good babies.” Hub has never gotten the attention and affection that she gives those kids–her grand-kids–in his entire life. Growing up pre-second marriage, his mother was focused on taking care of him and his sister and everyone around them from relatives to strangers to other people’s kids. Hub was always so low on the totem pole that he was invisible. And that never seemed to change.
So we went to dinner with the in-laws (and the grand-kids of course) for Hub’s birthday. to a local restaurant that is never busy. Guess what? It was busy…and so we had trouble getting a table that would work with the kids, one of which required a high chair. Said high chair was acquired, but the child was in a crappy mood and screamed his head off. The other one? The older one…she just kept hanging all over her grandmother, making it difficult for Hub’s mom to pay attention to anyone but her…or the screaming child. Ended up with dinner with Hub trying to keep screaming child busy and not screaming while squeezed into a booth that was too small for all of us (as we are all abundant in the stomach areas). And screaming child preferred to throw his toys to the floor and yell “Sorry!” repeatedly. Problem is, retrieving the toys was nearly impossible because of said squeezing into booth…but loss of toys made screaming child scream even more. *sigh*
It was a crappy dinner…one among many that I just now assume will always be crappy because this is how dinner with them goes. But the worst part is that we get out to the car and Hub gets in behind the steering wheel and then just looks at me. And there’s such pain and hurt in his eyes because this is the only time he ever gets to spend with his mother…and she spends all her time taking care of the kids. And she’s always with the kids. And she never realizes that all he wants is just a little of her focus…her time, her attention. On him. Just him. And then he tells me he feels horribly selfish for wanting that, but I can’t convince him that he is entitled to feel selfish about spending time with his mother. The only time he can see her without the kids (but never without the step-father, oddly) is if he goes out to lunch with her during the week. I am not sure in my entire relationship with him (22 years) that I’ve seen him get to spend time alone with his mother. EVER. It’s the saddest thing, because all he really wants is to know that he has her love and her complete attention. Even on the telephone she is always talking to her husband or one of the grand-kids or someone else in the background.
My husband is a good man. He takes care of me, he helps me take care of my parents and brothers, he takes care of his parents and siblings when they need him. He is attentive to all the people he cares about. He works hard to take care of everyone, he deserves to have that in return. I do my best, but it drives me absolutely insane to see how they treat him. This is his mother, it’s not right that she takes him for granted, and that she won’t give him just a little of her time.
It just pains me so much to see him with them, because he doesn’t act like the person I know…he’s actively seeking attention by being a tool. It’s like seeing a teenager acting out to get attention. He’s SO not that person…except when he’s with his mother and she’s overlooking him in favor of everyone else in the room. And he KNOWS he’s acting like a jerk, but he says he can’t seem to stop himself…and that, too, aggravates him. If it were up to me, I’d never go out to another dinner with them just to keep Hub from being hurt like this. I just don’t think I can convince him of that…