I Have Become What I Hate Pt I

I tried hard not to ever become the dreaded Mother-In-Law, but I fear it has now happened. It isn’t in reference to a current son-in-law, but rather to an ex, so don’t know if that makes it better or worse.

Youngest daughter and I went to a popular multi-product store last night. In the parking lot, she commented, “That looks like Nicholas”*… oh, wait, that IS Nicholas! He was there with his dad (eldest daughter’s ex) and the dad’s girlfriend.

By the time we got into the store, they weren’t in sight and we proceeded to do our shopping, keeping our eyes peeled for Nicholas. I happened to catch sight of Mark* (the ex) cutting through another part of the store and saying to someone out of sight “We’ll be right over here”.

We walked toward where he’d been and there was Nicholas, standing in the toy isle. By himself. (He’s in 3rd grade). We said hi to him and started chatting, the whole time keeping an eye out for Mark, who I was sure was going to come up any second.

I went over to where I’d last seen Mark, and looked around and saw no sign of him. Casually, my daughter and I looked up and down the isles near where Nicholas was absorbed in trying to decide which toy he thought was the best. No Mark. No girlfriend.

Finally, after chatting with Nicholas for at least 15 minutes, Mark and the girlfriend come strolling up. Startled to find us talking to Nicholas, back-peddling soon began. The first comment out of his mouth was something about leaving children alone. Flippant. Guilty. Throughout the next few minutes while we said goodbye to Nicholas, Mark mentioned it again. Yes, asshat, you were caught. All the joking and backpeddling in the world is not going to keep me from telling my daughter you left my grandson standing in the big store toy department by himself for at least 15 minutes while you were nowhere in sight, or earshot. (Daughter and I figured if he’d been within hearing distance, he’d have shown up much sooner and been less surprised.)

I hate this. I don’t like to be the bad guy. I don’t like to go tattling to my daughter about her ex’s bad behavior. I also don’t like the thought of my grandson being left alone like that. Sad as it is, that’s how little kids disappear.

I live in a fairly good sized town, but as I’ve told my kids while they were growing up… it’s really a small town. My husband has lived here his whole life and knows a lot of people. There are only so many places to shop. It’s inevitable that you will be caught. Someone you know or we know will see you. Someone you know will tell your parents. In this case, someone you know saw you and is going to tell HIS parent. Get your act together. What was so important you had to leave Nicholas alone for that amount of time in the store? You couldn’t hang out with him in the toy department and then go look at what you and the girlfriend wanted to look at? C’mon… put your brain in gear. This is your kid. I like to give my ex son-in-law’s the benefit of the doubt, but you’ve disappointed me once again.

*names have been changed to protect the innocent and non-so-innocent